Botticelli in the Fire, Hampstead Theatre - ★★ - Until November 23, 2019


The lives and times of Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci and Lorenzo de' Medici are only a pretext in this play which does not pretend to historical accuracy and blithely mixes 21st century dress, gadgets and references into a story that is equally genre-fluid combining elements of pantomime, farce and gay love story. The intrigue and complex relationship between art and politics in Renaissance Florence is given a nod as are the historical events of the plague, Savonarola's Christian fundamentalist sermons, and the infamous bonfire of the vanities. But ultimately, the play's narrative is about Botticelli's multifaceted lusts, which include Clarice Orsini and Leonardo, and his attempt to cultivate Lorenzo, his squash partner while seducing his wife. It all ends badly when he destroys "The Birth of Venus" in a manner which may anticipate Jackson Pollock's work many centuries later, but not to worry. This is the theatre of experience and it is impossible to predict what will come next. The tableau of Botticelli's great painting comes out of nowhere and the fire that represents the bonfire is a spectacular piece of stagecraft. This is not theatre for everyone, but as a sometimes amusing and thoroughly unpredictable event, go for it. And who wouldn't like a work that ends with the lovers sharing a peanut butter sandwich?

Reviewed by J.C.

 Our Score:  ☆☆

Want to save on tickets? See our Tips page.

WHEN, WHERE, GETTING THERE:
Until November 23, 2019
Mon - Sat: 7:30 pm, Tue: 2:30 pm & Sat: 3 pm
Hampstead Theatre
Nearest tube: Swiss Cottage
https://www.hampsteadtheatre.com/whats-on/2019/botticelli-in-the-fire/

Most Popular

The Prince ★★★★★ Southwark Playhouse | Sep 15 - Oct 8, 2022

A Different Stage ★★★★★ Duke of York's Theatre | Aug 30 - Sep 25, 2022

A Night At The Kabuki ★★★★★ Sadler's Wells Theatre | September 22 - 24, 2022

Love All ★★★★★ Jermyn Street Theatre | Sep 8 - Oct 8, 2022

Antigone ★★★★ Regent's Park Open Air Theatre | September 3 - 24, 2022

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo ★★★★★ Sadler's Wells Peacock Theatre | September 6 - 17, 2022

Barb Jungr sings Leonard Cohen ★★★★★ The Crazy Coqs, Brasserie Zédel | September 2, 2022

Silence ★★★★ Donmar Warehouse | September 1 - 17, 2022

RIDE - A New Musical ★★★★ Charing Cross Theatre | Aug 25 - Sep 17, 2022

Berlin ★★★ Etcetera Theatre | August 23 - 27, 2022

The City Life Magazine | Reviews & Ratings