Sign up for our weekly newsletter

Blood and Roses

Toby Wilsher and Dylan Ritson
Trestle Theatre Company
Riverside Studios
(2001)

Blood and Roses by the innovative Trestle Theatre Company at the Riverside Studios tells the surreal story of Lambert Simnel. If you know anything about him it is probably that he led a revolt at the end of the 15th Century or that he has an (apparently gooey) cake named for him. As one of the characters says, this is an anti-fairy story of the king who became a kitchen boy.

Trestle have discovered that the history of Lambert Simnel has all of the makings of great drama. They lend it a combination of cinematic writing to give it a contemporary feel, with grotesque masks for many characters and good physical acting. The modern, jocular tone and mannerisms are very much of today but this doesn't detract from the delineation and motivation of the historical characters.

Paul Amos as Simnel is generally dreamy as befits a boy chosen by church elders at the age of 10 to be the man who might become Richard IV or Edward VI if a Yorkist revolt is successful in unseating Henry VIII. The preparations are extremely thorough and almost reminiscent of John LeCarr

Reviewer: Philip Fisher