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…was first rate

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.

an eminently talented cast

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 two week run.