RICHARD III, 4Star****, London, To To 10 June


by William Shakespeare.
4Stars ****

The Arcola Theatre, 24 Ashwin Street, London E8 3DL to 10 June 2017.
Mon-Sat 7.30pm.Mat Wed & Sat 3pm.
Runs 3 hr One interval.

TICKETS: 020 7503 1646
Review: William Russell 11 May.

A marvellous malevolent Richard
There probably ought to be a fifth star for this fine staging by director Mehmet Ergen in which lascivious, malicious and rotten to the core Greg Hicks gives a spell binding performance. But I saw it at its very first performance and by the time it gets its press night on May 15 it will have settled down. As it was the show seemed running on all cylinders already.
Hicks has no hump, but he has a wasted arm and his left leg needs support from a chain which is wound round his body or his arm and is attached to a stirrup for his foot. From the start there is no secret that he is up to no good and he is enjoying it immensely although also scared stiff by the enormity of the course he has embarked upon and the dangers he will face. It is a performance that holds the eye, all evil leers and confiding glances, until at the end he meets his doom strangled by that chain on which he has had to rely.

But is not a one man evening by any means. The women in his life, Annie Firbank as his mother, Georgina Rich as the hapless Lady Anne wooed over her husband’s corps and disposed off when no longer needed without a thought, and Jane Bertish as the mother of the two young princes sent to the tower are all impressive in their anger and grief. As Catesby, Matthew Sim sends shivers down the spine. Richard may be flamboyantly evil – Hicks sports on splendid black earring – but Sim is cold as ice. Paul Kemp does a notable double as Clarence and Stanley, the man who does not come to the king’s aid at Bosworth.

Richard 111 can be a chance for actors to grandstand, and Hicks, blood chillingly funny, relishing each enormity along the way to the crown, certainly does that, but he is also firmly part of the production. It is a performance to catch, a production in the round as always at the Arcola to admire.

Richard: Greg Hicks.
Clarence: Paul Kemp.
King Edward: Jim Bywater.
Queen Elizabeth: Sara Powell.
Rivers: Femi Elufowoju Jr.
Duchess of York: Annie Firbank.
Lady Anne: Georgina Rich.
Hastings: Mark Jax.
Buckingham: Peter Guinness.
Catesby: Matthew Sim.
Brakenbury: Jamie de Courcey.
Margaret: Jane Bertish.
Mayor of London: Jim Bywater.
Richmond: Jamie de Courcey.
Stanley: Paul Kemp.
Blunt: Femi Elufowoju Jr.
Oxford: Georgina Rich.
Executioner: Mark Jax.
Young Prince: Cameron Lane/Aiden Layton.
Young York: Samuel Billington-Farmer/Alex Leppard.
Soldiers/Bishops/Pallbearers: Dominik Cicak, Christos Floros, Guy Hodgkinson, Jonathan Keane.

Director: Mehmet Ergen.
Design: Anthony Lambie.
Lighting Design: Dinah Mullen.
Associate Costume Designer: Sarah June Mills.
Assistant Director: Quentin Beroud.
Fight Direction: Terry King.
Choreography: Lucy Cullingford.
Movement Consultant: Marie Gabrielle-Rotie

William Russell @pursuivant.

2017-05-14 14:44:34

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