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Richard II at the RSC

October 31, 2013

Gregory Doran‘s RICHARD II really begins his tenure as Artistic Director at the RSC. I had the feeling that we were being called into the high temple of theatre with the chanting and a cathedral projection on the minimalist metallic backdrop. I got the message that this was serious. It felt more like a presentation of history which I actually enjoyed although I prefer the drama of the other Shakespeare history plays that I have already seen. I think traditionalists must have been sitting up in their seats thinking that the stage had been reclaimed after the adventures we have been having at the RSC in the last few years.

There are some incredible performances from the usual very high standard cast particularly by Michael Pennington as John of Gaunt (for locals John of Gaunt added The Great Hall and modernised Kenilworth castle after 1350). David Tennant did not disappoint as King Richard. He gives the King an almost ethereal quality which realistically detaches him from the reality of the treachery developing in his midst yet also a child-like innocence which makes us feel for him as the powerful bullies act against him.

This production does leave an overall powerful memory in the mind although I can remember more than one occasion when I was sitting in the theatre last night that the word “dull” came to mind.

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From → Theatre

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