Stage adaptations of 'Wolf Hall' and 'Bring Up the Bodies' reportedly coming to Broadway
The productions received mainly positive reviews in London and some cast members from those stagings will be in the Broadway version as well.
“Wolf Hall: Parts 1 & 2,” the stage adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s critically acclaimed novels, will reportedly be coming to Broadway this spring.
The stage versions, known in London as “Wolf Hall” and “Bring Up the Bodies,” were produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company in London and are currently playing in London’s West End until Oct. 4. They will be coming to Broadway for previews beginning on March 20, according to the New York Times, and opening night will be on April 9.
In addition, actor Ben Miles, who portrays Thomas Cromwell; Nathaniel Parker, who plays King Henry VIII; and Lydia Leonard, who plays the king’s second wife Anne Boleyn, will be coming to Broadway to reprise their parts, according to the NYT.
Because the shows are technically two productions, theatergoers can see them on the same day, with a break of a few hours in between, or go to each on different days.
The shows earned mostly positive reviews in London, with Mark Lawson of the Guardian noting that they “will not disappoint fans of modern political dramas such as House of Cards.”
“Mantel and dramatist Mike Poulton and director Jeremy Herrin bring to the familiar tale of doomed wives and religious convulsion a thrilling originality of psychology and storytelling,” he wrote. “Elegantly compressing 1,246 pages of print into just over five and a half hours of stage time, the productions compellingly combine absolute dramatic clarity with tantalising historical ambiguity… Among a uniformly thoughtful and inventive cast… Nathaniel Parker's Henry switches instantly between charm, insecurity, and terrifying rage… while Lydia Leonard's Anne is a sexual and theological schemer… who later takes on true tragic force… Crucially, Ben Miles, as Cromwell, is harder on the character than Mantel was. His Master Secretary, on stage almost throughout, is charismatic and attractive, but chilling in moments.”
Stephen Dalton of the Hollywood Reporter wrote that “the treatment is fairly straight and conservative, but full of quality craftsmanship throughout… Mike Poulton’s adaptations keep the language accessible and the political context lucid enough for a general audience. They are also surprisingly funny, with a more broadly comic tone than Mantel’s books… Ben Miles gives a measured and sympathetic performance as Cromwell, though he's a little colorless for such a complex historical figure."
And Variety critic David Benedict found the productions to be “superbly tense… [they include] a magnetic and quietly extraordinary performance by Ben Miles, who, across six hours of masterly manipulation, dominates the 21-strong cast and never leaves the stage.”