Written on the Heart (The Swan Theatre)

Written on the Heart is a fantastic glimpse at an interesting period of history. There are some really engaging performances particularly from Oliver Ford Davies as Lancelot Andrews and Stephen Boxer as William Tyndale. The play explores the creation of the King James Bible and focuses on a group set up to compile it. Alongside wrangles over wording, the politics of the project are dramatised. Some of the most interesting parts are the references back to previous translations. There are some really engaging moments when characters debate over words and phrasing. At one point there’s a debate about whether ‘Thy faith has saved me rather than they faith has healed thee,’ is correct.

Written on the Heart presents a clear sense of moving forward. There’s a wider society at view, but at the same time, the play presents Andrews’ story and there is a focus how he tries to confront his past. The use of flashbacks work really well and there is a sense of a structure in the play that takes you through the events. My one criticism was that I found the play a little too long, but I learnt a lot, and enjoyed the exploration of detail which the play drew attention to. It felt very satisfying to have to listen carefully and that language was a major feature of the production.

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