By Jessica Owen

Following two sell-out London seasons, Howard Brenton’s production of ‘Anne Boleyn’ is now enjoying a five night run at the Festival Theatre.

This engaging and vibrant Shakespeare’s Globe production gives an insight into Henry VIII’s notorious second wife played out over the seven years during which she went from the king’s lover to his Queen, and from revolutionary to heretic.

The production cleverly intertwines different generations to show the impact that Anne Boleyn had on subsequent monarchs and religion in England.

Brenton’s production moves seamlessly between tenderness and tension and laugh out loud humour.  James Garnon playing a particularly manic King James VI & I, and Colin Hurley as the delightfully camp and poisonous Cardinal Wolsey, both deserve a special mention for their excellent performances.

For anyone who enjoyed Hilary Mantel’s Booker prize winning novel ‘Wolf Hall’,  this production of Anne Boleyn will certainly give you a refresher on the tangled web of goings-on in Henry VIII’s Tudor Court and should keep you going until Mantel’s sequel ‘Bring Up The Bodies’ is published later today.

Anne Boleyn is at the Festival Theatre on Nicholson Street until Saturday 12 May. There is also a free post show talk tonight when you can put your questions to members of the company. If you’re not in the audience you can tweet questions using the hashtag #askAnBo  during the talk.

For more details visit

Photos by Robert Day