Theatre review: Caravaggio: Between the Darkness

Edinburgh Festival Fringe: Caravaggio, it turns out, is a name that can fill a theatre, or very nearly, such is our fascination with the artistic genius with the colourful private life who died in 1610 at the age of 38.

theSpace on the Mile (Venue 39)


Thomas Butler’s play, for theatre collective Theatre Department, tells the story of his tumultuous final years.

There is a lot of ground to cover. Caravaggio is on the run, having killed a man in a fight, probably accidentally. While Cardinal Del Monte pleads his case in Rome, he is packed off to stay with a rival painter, Carracci, then later becomes a guest of the Knights of Malta and their sadistic grand master Alof de Wignacourt, where he is imprisoned and tortured.

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Butler’s direction takes us through this complex story with a minimum of confusion, while the highly able cast of six, led by Alex Marchi as Caravaggio, play his supporters, lovers and enemies. They sketch out something of his relationship with art and with faith, and draw out themes from his life. One senses that with more time they could do a lot more.

Until 26 August. Today 2:55pm.