Nottingham Playhouse Theatre Company and York Theatre Royal
By William Shakespeare
Nottingham Playhouse to Saturday 16th November 2013 7.30pm
Matinee Saturdays 2nd, 9th, 16th November 1.30, Tuesday 5th, 12th, 14th 1.30, Thurs 7th, 14th 1.30
Audio described performances Wednesday 13th November 7.30, captioned performance Thursday 14th November 7.30, signed interpreted performance Friday 15th November 7.30
Then York Theatre Royal Tuesday 19th to Saturday 30th November
TICKETS: 0115 9419419
Review: Jen Mitchell 29th October 2013
Runs 3hrs. One interval
A happy reunion of an unhappy story.
In this impressive new production, the first major staging since Richard III body was discovered in the car park in Leicester, we are gladly reunited with Shakespeare’s murderous eponymous king.
Tyranny and power are at the heart of the play and remain as resonant today as in Tudor times when it was written – which accounts in some part for the really bad press Richard III received at the hands of Shakespeare.
Ian Bartholomew, superb as Richard, avoids a one dimensional evil villain and presents a complex, manipulative and maniacal character. His facial asides and knowing nods to the audience bring a sinister comic quality which serves to make him appear all the more calculating.
A strong trio of forbearing royal women, Lady Anne (Natalie Burt), Queen Elizabeth (Siobhan McCarthy) and the Duchess of York (Joan Moon) suffer terribly at the hands of Richard and their anguish is palpable as his exploits become increasingly cruel.
Charles Daish gives a first-rate performance as Clarence, bravely using his crutches (necessary following an injury from the previous night) to fight off his assassins in the tower.
Milo Twomey is a determined and ruthless Buckingham, willing to carry out Richard’s every evil whim and Paul Greenwood is dignified as the elder statesman Hastings.
The action takes place upon a superbly stark and gloomy set – fitting of the action that is to unfold upon it. Costumes are generally modern, although fairly timeless which supports the relevance of the play today. The use of projections, particularly during Richard’s rise to power and when he first becomes king, are reminiscent of scenes of Hitler – tyranny unchanging through the ages.
The final battle scene is worthy of note, as Richard’s death and the blows delivered to him are reconstructed using the evidence from his recently discovered skeleton. The use of explosions and artillery sounds are true to the original Battle of Bosworth. The highly choreographed fight scenes are impressive, as is Richard’s stylised death. A gripping ending to a real Shakespearean treat.
Richard III: Ian Bartholomew
Lady Anne/Mistress Shore: Natalie Burt
Edward/Catesby: Tim Chipping
Rivers/Brackenbury: Jim Creighton
Clarence: Charles Daish
Hastings: Paul Greenwood
Dorset/Richmond: Nyasha Hatendi
Murderer 1/Ratcliffe: Sean Jackson
Queen Elizabeth: Siobhan McCarthy
Duchess of York: Joan Moon
Lord Grey/Mayor of London/Murderer2/Messenger: Sam Oatley
Stanley: Paul Slack
Buckingham: Milo Twomey
Edward, Prince of Wales: Nathan Bull, Jake Dunn
Richard of York: Luke Aungles, Patrick Daunt, Óran McGuire
Director: Loveday Ingram
Designer: Simon Higlett
Lighting Designer: Mark Jonathan
Composer: Steven Edis
Projection Designer: William Simpson
Sound Designer: Drew Baumohl
Fight Director: Terry King