This production deserves every accolade it will surely receive over its two-week run…

Review of Richard III, Shakespeare at the George, by Julie Petrucci, Editor of Combinations magazine.

 

Richard III by William Shakespeare was this year’s choice of the award-winning

Shakespeare at The George company. This play is a real challenge. It tells how Richard

will stop at nothing to secure his place on the throne, the dastardly deeds he stoops to and

what he does to achieve it and how it eventually brings about his downfall.

As antiheroes go Richard III set the standard for all the antiheroes that have followed over

the past four centuries, (Game of Thrones for an example) and the fact that this

Shakespearean tale can still attract audiences and hold the interest is nothing short of

impressive.

 

The staging in the lovely George Hotel courtyard was first rate. Director Lynne Livingstone

together with Perry Incledon-Webber designed a clever and very imaginative set. The way

the camp was created for the final scenes was particularly fascinating.

 

On the technical side everything, as always with those involved with an SATG production

behind the scenes was top notch. Super atmospheric music (Roy Bellass and Lyne

Livingstone), creative lighting (designer Max Richardson) and lovely costumes courtesy of

Helen Arnett.

 

As usual, Shakespeare at The George and director Lynne Livingstone assembled an

eminently talented cast and every actor offered potent and powerful character

interpretations.

 

This play, as many of the Bard’s, is not kind to the ladies. However, Alex Priestley as

Queen Elizabeth, Rosemary Eason as the Duchess of York, Madeleine Forrester as the

former Queen Margaret, and Georgina Bickerdike as the widowed Anne were all

absolutely compelling as victims who fight for the kingdom without much success.

 

Dean Laccohee gave a creative interpretation of the duplicitous charlatan. Skilfully

capturing the complexity of Richard’s deranged thirst for power as well as his rare

moments of vulnerability in a riveting performance. He set the bar high which could have

caused the other actors to become overshadowed. However, this was definitely not the

case. Each actor turned in a performance of the highest quality.

 

Particularly noteworthy performances came from Rob Barton (Duke of Buckingham),

Reuben Milne (Duke of Clarence) Richard Brown (Hastings/Earl of Oxford) and Mark

Hebert with a foot in each camp as Lord Stanley.

 

Kudos to James Barwise (Sir William Catesby) and Perry Incledon-Webber (Sir Richard

Ratcliffe) who follow Richard with brutal efficiency.  Well earned bows for Luke McQuillan (Earl of Richmond), Lucas Elkin (Sir James Blunt),  Chris Thompson (Prince Edward), Serenity Twinn (Duke of York) and Phil Leverett (King Edward IV).

 

Playing multiple roles is never easy but Richard Fitt, Les Roberts and Ray Livermore plus

several others (after their services had been dispensed with by Richard) made it seem so.

The cast was completed by Paul Gaskell (Executioner) and Nic Cole (Guard).

 

Review

I realise this review may well consist of a long list of names but I feel every player

deserves to be mentioned.

 

I am not a Shakespeare”buff” but even I am familiar with the opening lines “Now is the

winter of our discontent” and of course “A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!” .

Although this was my introduction to Richard III, I found it pretty easy to follow – but I am

still not sure of the answer to the question “Who are the real patriots and who are the

traitors?”

 

I was present on the opening night and, despite the fact problems on the A14 meant it took

2 hours and 20 minutes to do a 35 minute journey is was worth it. This production was of

a professional standard and deserves every accolade it will surely receive over its twoweek

run.

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