Rebecca Bailey, The Seventeenth Century, 2014 (Vol. 29, No.2, 211-221)
Dr Eva Griffith’s A Jacobean Company and its Playhouse offers a rich and nuanced theatre history of the Queen’s at the Red Bull Theatre (c.1605-1619). Griffith’s ambitious monograph documents the curiously neglected history of the Servants of Queen Anna of Denmark to successfully remind the reader that this group of actors is as worthy of scholarly attention as Shakespeare’s King’s Men… Harnessing a wealth of evidence from maps and title page illustrations, to data from petitions, bills, and witness depositions, Griffith admirably achieves her overarching aim, to put the “ground beneath the feet” (27) of the players and the plays. Through painstaking archival work, she reminds the reader of the importance of post-Reformation land for a proper understanding of the theatre’s origins. Locating the Red Bull within the context of the Seckford and Bedingfeld families, a fascinating recusant hinterland emerges… At the heart of this study is a multi-layered exploration of the links between the Queen’s Servants and their named patroness, Queen Anna of Denmark, wife of King James I. Griffith makes a persuasive case for Danish influences on the company: the connections between the tradition for pyrotechnics in Denmark and the Red Bulls own subsequent success with adventurous firework spectacle are most intriguing… With its wealth of fresh information on repertoire, players, and locale, A Jacobean Company and its Playhouse is a richly documented, timely, and elegant volume which succeeds, admirably, in its bold vision to readdress the whole question of the Queen’s Servants at the Red Bull Theatre.