Year: 1985

Title of the play: The Duchess of Malfi

Author: John Webster

Director: Philip Prowse

Others in the Cast: Jonathan Hyde, Eleanor Bron, Greg Hicks, Simon Dutton, Sir Ian McKellen, Roy Kinnear, Selina Cadell, Sheila Hancock 

Company/Event: National Theatre Company Ian McKellen-Edward Petherbridge Group

Theatre and location: Lyttelton Theatre, London

Other productions of the same play: 1986 - International Theatre Festival Blackstone Theatre, Chicago

Plot summary: The recently widowed Duchess falls in love with Antonio, a lowly steward, but her brothers, not wishing her to share their inheritance, forbid her from remarrying. She marries Antonio in secret, and bears him several children. The Duchess' brothers Ferdinand and the Cardinal retaliate by having her murdered.

Peth’s role: The villainous Cardinal.


The actor-centered troupe led by Ian McKellen and Edward Petherbridge chose Webster's play as one of their first productions. The production premiered in January 1986 in the Lyttelton Theatre of the Royal National Theatre. Philip Prowse's direction was highly stylized, the scenic backdrop segmented, and the actors' movements tightly controlled. The result, as Jarka Burian noted, was "a unified, consistent mise-en-scene...without enough inner turbulence to create a completely satisfying theatre experience." Eleanor Bron played the Duchess; McKellen played Bosola, Jonathan Hyde Ferdinand, and Petheridge the Cardinal. – Wikipedia


Production details: Here 

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