Louise Dumayne as Bess and Alistair Scott as George Talbot would benefit from a tighter framework in which to develop their relationship on stage – there is little to no attempt to age the characters from start to finish, although many years pass – but they carry the main roles well. However, they are let down by Jane Murphy's portrayal of Mary, Queen of Scots as petulant and immature, with a distractingly unplaceable accent that is certainly neither English nor Scottish. Richard Warrick's one-dimensional Robert Dudley seems completely superfluous, only appearing to provide exposition or historical details.
David Shields's set and Matt Hall's sound design combine to create a wonderful atmosphere in a small space, which does much to draw the audience in and keep them interested. The script, although dialogue-heavy, is engaging and well-paced, and moments of real talent shine through in the relationships between George, Bess and Mary – it is when details of the wider historical context are shoehorned in that the story flags. Scaling down the timeline and scope of Bloodline would greatly improve this drama.
- Colleen Patterson