Florence, circa 1482. Playboy Sandro Botticelli has it all: talent, fame, good looks. He also has the ear - and the wife - of Lorenzo de Medici, as well as the Renaissance’s hottest young apprentice, Leonardo.
But whilst he is at work on his breakthrough commission, ‘The Birth of Venus’, Botticelli’s devotion to pleasure and beauty is put to the ultimate test. As plague and dissent sweep through the city, the charismatic friar Girolamo Savonarola starts to stoke the fires against the liberal elite. Botticelli finds the life he knows breaking terrifyingly apart, forcing him to choose between love and survival.
Jordan Tannahill’s hot-blooded and seductive reimagining of Renaissance Italy questions how much of ourselves we are willing to sacrifice when society comes off the rails.
Botticelli in the Fire makes its UK premiere at Hampstead Theatre. Tannahill’s other plays include Sunday in Sodom and Declarations.
Blanche McIntyre makes her highly anticipated Hampstead debut following Tartuffe (National Theatre), The Winter’s Tale (Shakespeare’s Globe) and The Writer (Almeida).
Restless and indulgent but never boring
Well-crafted and finely tuned, it lacks the spark needed to become a masterpiece
A muddled mash-up
Jordan Tannahill's queering of Renaissance art is riotously vulgar and unapologetic
The painter resembles a drunken YBA in a flawed but timely show that veers from camp humour to political intrigue
The finished product is engaging, touching, immediate, and - naturally - beautiful
I like this choice of programming, but I want to like it more, and it doesn’t have an easy time of it here
Provides food for thought, as well as entertainment and fun
Jordan Tannahill's play is an uneasy mash up of Renaissance Florence and 21st century queer culture