Richard III

Jun. 4th, 2017 04:40 pm
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As soon as I heard Greg Hicks was going to be in Richard III I knew I had to see it.  Then SM talked about going to another singy thing (Vivaldi's Gloria) and suggested we stay overnight so he could be at Trafalgar Square by 10am.  So it seemed like an ideal opportunity to combine the two.

It turned out to be an even better idea.  The play was at the Arcola Theatre, which is in Dalston in east London, and thus the other side of London from us.  It also didn't finish until nearly 6pm (starting quite late for a matinée at 3pm) so getting a train home would have been a rush (we drove up instead).  A combination of bus from almost outside our Travelodge at Kew Bridge and London Overground meant the travel - although nearly an hour - was simple.

But to the play.  I am so very pleased I got to see it.  I went with a friend, and whilst we agreed the emphasis on Richard's disability was extreme and not entirely necessary, Greg Hicks performance was excellent.  He's an extremely physical actor - not in the leaping all over the stage sense, but in conveying much by subtle body movements.  He brought out the laughs, with a performance which showed Richard as very self-aware of exactly what he was doing.  And he dominated the stage, not denying the other actors, but in demonstrating that he was where the real power was held.  And when he spoke, a slight emphasis on certain words and the audience knew exactly what he was thinking.

The supporting cast were good too.  I was particularly taken with Matthew Sim as Catesby, icy and completely in control of himself.  However, I was not convinced with the way some of the characters were doubled up.  Having the same actor play Clarence and Stanley, while another played Rivers and Blunt was rather a jolt - especially when towards the end in one scene they are talking with Richmond as his supporters, and in the very next scene they appear before Richard as he dreams of those he's killed.  But that's a minor criticism.

The Arcola theatre is small, giving an intimate setting, and we were in the second row on one side, so had an excellent view and felt drawn in to the performance.  It's modern dress, but of no specific time, which I felt worked very well.

In conclusion, I'm delighted I got to see Greg Hicks on stage again.
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