The Duchess of Malfi

By John Webster

7 JUL - 30 JUL 2005 — Drama



Auckland Theatre Company


2 hours and 20 minutes, including a 15 minute interval





Duchess: “Diamonds are of most value they say, that have passed through most jeweler's hands.”
Ferdinand: “Whores, by that rule, are precious.”

One of the greatest plays in the English language, John Webster’s dark, violent and sexually-charged tragedy is a study in corruption, lust and revenge.

The Duchess, urged against a second marriage by her venal and lascivious brothers, defies them in a secret marriage to her steward, Antonio. When Bosola, the malcontent spy, reports this betrayal, the brothers exact a terrible revenge.

Bosola, torn between duty to the brothers and his growing love for the Duchess, regains, almost too late, his sense of righteousness and justice.

Resonating with contemporary associations, this is a story of a princess with too much power; a sensuous and passionate woman who dares to follow her heart’s desire.

The Duchess of Malfi marks Auckland Theatre Company’s first innovative staging of a Jacobean classic. Staged in the Concert Chamber at the Town Hall, this production will bedazzle with its sumptuous costumes, superb characters and brilliantly inventive, darkly poetic language.


It's an enthralling production with strong performances.
Natasha Hay, New Zealand Listener
ATC is going all out to make it an experience theatre-goers will remember.
Dionne Christian, NZ Herald