Richard III

5
Thu, 7th Mar 19
Touring production seen in Bristol.

TomMothersdale as Richard. Photo Marc BrennerThis production is a collaboration between Headlong, Bristol Old Vic and the Alexandra Palace theatre with the Royal & Derngate and Oxford Playhouse. Sounds bitty, but it isn't ... this is regional theatre doing what it does best, collaborating and creating ... driving innovative theatre.

Tom Mothersdale's Richard really makes you think - we all know Shakespeare was making a bit of a point with his characterisation but here we are presented with a self-aware villain with a sly, dry, humour. This is a powerfully directed and delivered performance which reaches out from the stage, grabs the audience and pulls us into this cruel world.

A strong cast delivered some amazing moments; Richard's nightmare before the battle, Clarence's death, the confrontation between Richard and his mother, the spitting (wow), The battle itself is very effecitvely played solo, but I really felt for the stage crew having to restore the set to its initial cleanliness between shows! 

A beautiful set and truly effective lighting helped to drive the show along - no need for clutter or props just amazing changes of scope and space. The set allowed the appearance of the ghosts, the memories of those killed in Richard's struggle for the crown, to work particularly effectively.

This is powerful theatre, a production that places the story front and centre with genuinely credible central performances. Whatever you may think of Shakespeare's vision of Richard III, it is sobering to watch a story of our country torn apart between two dynasties during this time of Brexit, which risks tearing it apart between two ideas. Richard's death led in the end to the unification of the two warring sides into the Tudor line, who knows what Brexit's final implementation will bring ...


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