Richard McCabe as Cicero is a marvellous creation: a man risen from lowly beginnings through sheer intelligence and lawyerly eloquence, his genuine belief in the Republic and horror of autocracy fading sometimes endearingly into pomposity; his political gift for expediency always at war with his real principles.
When The Woman in White debuted at the Palace Theatre in 2004, much of the commentary focused on it being a technological feat, with digital projections in abundance. With this first revival, directed by Thom Southerland, the more intimate setting seems to lend itself more readily to Wilkie Collins’s gothic source material.
The parallel is everywhere. There’s the sense that as new money and people flow to London, so do new heresies and threats; the way that spooks can spook governments into fresh paranoia, and the feeling that tricky populations can be quietened by “a royal wedding, and setting the poor against recent immigrants”.