A continuing tragedy


A continuing tragedy

Ines de Castro: A Portuguese tragedyBy John Clifford
Directed by Diana Denley
Newtown Actors' Group
Studio Theatre, Newtown, until April 19. Reviewed by Emlyn Jones

The Newtown Actors' Group was founded a year ago by Charles Little and Diana Denley. This Australian premiere is its fourth production. John Clifford wrote Ines de Castro in 1989; it was first performed in Edinburgh and, after a successful season, moved to London.

The play is based on the true story of 14th century lovers. The Spanish Ines is the mistress of Prince Pedro, heir to the throne of Portugal. The prince is sent to fight a much larger Spanish force. His defeat and death, considered a certainty, will provide the opportunity to get rid of Ines and her two sons and thus remove a threat to the throne.

All the actors, except Anna Hruby, who plays Ines, take two parts: the VIPs who are the main participants and the common people, who comment on events. The change is simply done by the putting on of appropriate cloaks.

This is an absorbing play and the actors a talented group who bring it to life. Candido Minniti is chilling as the king's counsellor and chief plotter; Getraud Ingeborg is a most sympathetic nurse.

Long ago and far away? Unfortunately, the suffering of the people of a small country brought about by a large neighbour is all too relevant to the present.