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A Woman Killed with Kindness Theatre Review

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by Kat Parr Mackintosh (subscribe)
Young and coffee in varying degrees, Kat also says stuff @ThoroughlyMode
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'A Woman Killed with Kindness' sounds like the title for a modern psychological thriller, or maybe a film by Alfred Hitchcock. But it's not, it's a tragedy, written in 1603 by Thomas Heywood, who adapted the story from an even earlier novel which was in Italian. It's also The National Theatre's latest production, and part of the 12 Travelex season, meaning you can see it for this minimal sum.

I suspect she's not getting married
I suspect she's not getting married
If The National's theatrical kudos, the title, the fact that The National is presenting it as 'fast-moving, frightening and erotic', and the price aren't enough to convince you to buy a ticket, then let me try and sway you with a synopsis: A married man invites another man into his home as a companion, greeting him by saying that he's welcome to anything in his house. His companion chooses to pursue the man's wife. But they're caught and she's ostracised by her husband for her sin though she'd rather starve herself for her crime. But there are two women in this play, the other is being offered to a man to repay her brother's debts.

It's unclear which woman will be the one 'killed with kindness', though it sounds like there may be multiple victims and not actually that much of the kindness the title promises.

Sandy McDade as Susan doesn't appear happy
Sandy McDade as Susan doesn't appear happy
Katie Mitchell is directing: a director known for dissecting the psychology of her characters in minute detail, with a special interest in the portrayal of women. So this should be 'meaty' as well as riveting and potentially frightening.

From the photo gallery it appears that Mitchell has moved the setting forward in time not to the present day but you could almost imagine it happening now. Personally I find the idea of that interesting.

A Woman Killed with Kindness' is advertised as being two hours with no interval.
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Why? Like an ancient Hitchcock
When: Until the 11th September
Where: National Theatre, Lyttelton, South Bank, London, SE1 9PX, nearest station Waterloo
Cost: From 12 as part of The National's Travelex series
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