This excellent production at The Old Vic has an imposing cathedral-like set that almost constitutes an extra character - one that is incredibily dark and menacing. It's as if all the forces of oppression are looming over the sole female of rank, a dignified and virtuous figure as portrayed by Eve Best .
The powerful poetic text, and strong lead performances make for a very striking version of this often performed but repellant play.
It occurred to me, reading recent newspaper reports of 'honour' killings, that a search for further motives is unnecessary. Critics claim that Webster's representations of cruelty and corruption were just reflections, as he saw it, of the society he lived in. While the notion of 'honour killing' might have seemed a historical relic, in the light of recent cases it's easier to credit.The explanation for the cruelty is not particular to the case of the Duchess and her brothers but a general reflection of what can occur when women resist control of their sexuality.