Review: Fallen In Love, by Joanna Carrick, Red Rose Chain, Gippeswyk Hall, Ipswich, until June 5

A good evening at the theatre should entertain, should inspire and if we are lucky provide us with an insight into our world or our past. Happily Fallen In Love, the new production, from Red Rose Chain does all these things.

Staged in a large tent in the grounds of Gippeswyk Hall, it tells the story of Anne Boleyn and her close relationship with her brother George during her courtship and marriage to Henry VIII. It finishes with her fall from favour.

Researched by writer and director Joanna Carrick and her team of History Girls, the play manages to be historically accurate and dramatically gripping – which is no mean feat, as history rarely delivers its important events in a way that aids the required ups and downs of a theatre plot.

Fallen In Love also scores because it manages to tell a complex story, simply, and yet doesn’t presume knowledge. This is down to Joanna Carrick’s focus on the people and their personalities rather than turning it into a rather staid history lesson which recites all the major events of Anne’s life with Henry.

In fact all the milestones take place off-stage and are only referred to obliquely.

The focus of the play is very much on the relationship between Anne and George, which her enemies portrayed as being incestuous. Fleur Keith breathes fire as the boisterous and increasingly headstrong would-be Queen while Joseph Pitcher is a loving brother who finds himself increasingly out of his depth at court and at home with a wife he barely sees.

It’s a wonderful two-hander, delivered with great passion by the two actors. Thanks to their powerful performances and Jo Carrick’s perceptive writing you get a feel of how their relationship must have been and an insight into Anne’s rather naive ambition.

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The one act play whizzed past in little over an hour and I immediately went home and started researching the story on the net.

Great theatre inspires and Fallen In Love certainly did that.

Andrew Clarke

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