Read Not Dead: The Injur’d Princess, or The Fatal Wager

I attended a Red Not Dead performance at the Globe’s Sackler Studios, a reading of Thomas d’Urfey’s The Injur’d Princess or The Fatal Wager. The play, first published in 1682, is an updated version of Shakespeare’s Cymbeline, and I was interested to see how it differed from the Bard’s play. Urfey attempted to streamline the plot of Cymbeline, focusing on the character of Eugenia and her tragedy. Unfortunately, it did not enjoy great success at the time because the King’s Company, which first performed it, was failing, and the merger with the Duke’s Company soon afterwards lessened the need for new plays. However, it was revived in the eighteenth century, performed as a comedy of errors under the title The Fatal Wager.

I’m always impressed with the cast at these events as they only have one day to study the play and their parts. In particular, Oliver Bennett and Pearl Chanda as Ursaces and Eugenia, the chief couple, were excellent, and James Askill was also very good as the Queen’s son Cloten. My favourite was Martin Hodgson’s Jachimo: he managed to inject a great deal of humour into his role.

Directed by James Wallace, this was a really fun production of a lesser-known Restoration drama and I’m glad I made the effort to see it.

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