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    "The two leads have the makings of a delicious double act, Bremmer snuffling with mirth into his ginger furs as Hadfield makes boobies of the avaricious hypocrites with easy wit." The Times

    An Introduction to Volpone

    'The play's magnificent humour fizzes and sparkles amidst its darkly satiric commentary on emergent capitalism and the degeneration of social, familial, moral and legal codes.' THE SHAKESPEARE BULLETIN

    Volpone has long been a popular choice as a set text for students. Written by Ben Jonson, it was first produced in 1606 and billed as a comedy, although it also includes elements of tragedy and even animal fable (Volpone is Italian for ‘fox’). In essence, it’s a dark satire on greed and lust, and remains Jonson’s most performed work.

    The action takes place in seventeenth-century Venice, over the course of one day. The chief characters are Volpone, a rich libertine and conman, and Mosca, his self-seeking servant. They cause chaos with an audacious fraud designed to part the city’s wealthiest from their fortunes. The tale twists and turns, as all the characters attempt to deceive each other, until the whole scheme finally collapses, with disastrous consequences for Volpone.

    A great choice for students and theatre lovers

    There are themes galore to explore in Volpone, a key reason for its popularity in schools and colleges. One of the most important is the power of stagecraft - Volpone doesn’t merely lie, but turns his deception into a whole production, complete with make-up, wardrobe and props. This is therefore truly a play to be seen, not just read.

    In addition, it’s an excellent play to study alongside Shakespeare. Jonson and Shakespeare were contemporaries, although their approach to drama was quite different.

    Of course, whether you’re a teacher, student or simply a theatre lover, Volpone, is, quite simply, great fun - its messages clearly resonating today.

    Not surprisingly, Volpone is Jonson’s most performed work. As the inscription over his Westminster Abbey grave states: ‘O Rare Ben Johnson’ (sic) – and this play is indeed a rare treat to study and watch.

    Volpone is now available to purchase on DVD or as paid downloads on YouTube 

    Current plays available: The Duchess of Malfi, Doctor Faustus, Volpone and The School for Scandal.

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