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Ten Plagues - A Song Cycle

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by Bryony Harrison (subscribe)
Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from
Event: -
ten plagues, marc almond, wilton's music hall

Boy, it was tough going to be a Londoner in the 17th century. Not only would you have been right on the doorstep of a political upheaval when Oliver Cromwell overthrew the monarchy, but you would then have to suffer through years of Lord 'Protector's' austerity measurements. Even when Charles II did retake the throne in 1660, things didn't get any better; within a matter of years two more tragedies unfolded that almost wiped out the city's population. Yep, the 17th century was an unlucky time to be alive.

As horrific as the Fire of London was, it is nothing compared to the suffering caused by bubonic plague. Chills, fever, and muscle cramps were just some of the milder symptoms; those infected would expect to also suffer from lymph gland swellings, gangrene, seizures, and necrosis. Ironically, citizens should have been grateful for the Great Fire, since that in turn eventually stopped the disease from spreading.

Before, we could only imagine the suffering that these people went through, but now, until the 18th May,Ten Plagues , will give us a deeper understanding through a dramatic account of the period. The play, which was written by Mark Ravenhill, is currently showing at Wilton's Music Hall with tickets between 15-25. Ravenhill based the play on eye-witness accounts, allowing for a more profound, atmospheric, and heartfelt performance. Ten Plagues was made in collaboration with the composer Conor Mitchell to create a unique musical re-telling of events. It was first shown at the Royal Court's Rough Cuts 2010 as a work-in-progress, then went on for a successful premier at Edinburgh's Festival Fringe in August 2011, which lead to five star reviews and being described as moving, thought-provoking and allusive' by The Independent.
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Why? Fun at the theatre
When: Until 18th May
Phone: 020 7702 278
Where: Wilton's Music Hall and St Martins-in-the-Fields
Cost: 15-25
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