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The best theatre in the UK this May

Ralph Fiennes takes on TS Eliot, and The Death of a Black Man at Hampstead Theatre

By Michael Coveney  

Ralph Fiennes in rehearsals for Four Quartets. Photo: © Matt Humphrey

Four Quartets, Theatre Royal, Bath, 25th May to 5th June, and on tour

T S Eliot liked the idea that his poetry might go beyond poetry just as Beethoven, in his late string quartets, wrote music beyond music. In a major post-pandemic, socially distanced event, Ralph Fiennes plumbs the mystery, the sense of loss and foreboding in a time of renewal between wars. Eliot defined the poems in his own voice, that of a trembling, portentous cadaver. Fiennes, the greatest actor and verse speaker of his generation, “performs” and renews the lines in a fully designed (by Hildegard…

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