After a quick, sustaining meal it was back to the Swan for the second half of what was already an excellent day of theatre - and this second part did not disappoint. At 3hrs 5mins (including 20 min interval) each these two parts make quite a substantial commitment
You will need to check back on our Wolf Hall review for some of the details; we saw the first part from Gallery 1 and the second part from Gallery 2, our colleagues saw it all from the Stalls (front row!) ... each had its advantages and the use of the stage means there are few bad views.
The second part carries the story from the marriage with Anne Boleyn on up until the marriage of Jane Seymour. Likeable though this version of Cromwell is it is his ruthless persual of his own ends, through his intention of always satisfying the King's whims, that drives the story forward. Never one to say "no", Cromwell twists the truth and the past to whatever ends are necessary.
I do think that if you only saw "Bring up the Bodies" you would flounder a bit and lack a lot of the back story of the characters - what's more, in this second half some theatrical shorthand is used to refer back to things more fully demonstrated in "Wolf Hall". Similarly, if you only saw Wolf Hall i think you'd be missing a lot - I would have hated to walk away knowing that the story was carrying on without me! Treat these two as a package, if you can't bear two in a day (the best way!) then see them close together but come what may, do yourself a favour and see them!
p.s. minor point but I would have liked to see a single programme for both and a way of buying a single ticket covering both, perhaps even a ticket covering both plus a meal between ... like I say, a minor point and nothing that distracts from the artistic achievement