Should women beware women?If Thomas Middleton‘s more than three and a half century  old play “Women Beware Women ” is still on the stage even  after been seen by billions  and is still attracting millions of others, the answer is obvious.Yes,they should.

More than a thousand of audiences were at National  Theatre ,Oliver  to see Jacobean dramatist Thomas Middleton’s  tragedy “Women  Beware Women” on 21st April. Millions more  will be watching   and justifying the timeless truth of the play  in three hours until   Sunday 4th July 2010.

Jacob Fishel and Kathryn Meisle in Women Beware Women in New York .The play was shown in New York twice in 1987 and 2008.

Oliver Theatre’s huge  ,circle stage  was perfectly decorated  for  Women Beware Women which takes place  in Renaissance  time and shows  how characters  unknowingly  become victim of  their  greed  even if it costs  them to lose love of their lives and gives them incredible  misery. The play is old but its theme is   still new  as we human beings are still greedy maybe even greedier than we were in Middleton’s time. Linda Davies , former investment banker  who writes children’s books and financial thrillers, refers  the bankers, who caused  the global recession  in 2007, to explain  the level of today’s greediness on  the play’s programme.

The play also  touches  many other problems  such as  sin, incest, manipulative and stupid women who are both seen as possession of men  and who in fact fight themselves  ,victimise themselves while ruining other  women’s lives. Some scenes   spiced the play with comedy which makes   all the countless murders   bearable for audiences.

It is beautifully performed   which might sound like overacting to many   however  we should remember that  the play is written in 17th century’s English and based on the feeling of lust and  greed .  Olly Fox’s   live music   on the   balcony of  the  huge theatre   takes  audiences into  Renaissance time and  into the characters’ worlds. Expensive  looking and professionally chosen velvet and silk costumes   which reinforce   the characters’ main value   wealth ,are designed by Lez Brotherston.

In the first half ,Leantio (Samuel Barnett) ,who is a poor banker’s clerk, marries to heiress  Bianca(Lauren O’Neill)  .Leantio leaves Bianca with his  mother soon after their marriage to go back to work.

The Duke of Florance(Richard Lintern)  catches Bianca’s attention and deceives her with his prosperous  life to marry him which creates conflict  between him and  his brother Cardinal(Chu Omambala). Duke   orders  Hippolito(Raymond Coulthard) to murder Leantio to free Bianca for their marriage .

Fast ,musical-like  second half   relieves   all the stiffness  that audiences get from the first half  however  series  of murders continue  until the end of the play  .Ferociously  every characters dies, only   Cardinal remains alive  who  fights for virtue   in every scene he appears .

Women Beware Women  was staged  in Broadway  twice  in 1987 and 2008 and   has been directed once again  by Marianne Elliott at National Theatre.

Although Thomas Middleton is the least known  and least appreciated  playwright and poet ,he is contemporary of Shakespeare   and  they  both worked for the same company  in 1620s.Middleton achieved equal success in comedy and tragedy  who also wrote masques and pageants. “The Revenger’s Tragedy ,”Timon of Athens” and “The Changeling”  are Middleton’s other best known plays.


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