Richard II opened at the RSC on 10th October and is already sold out at Stratford, (until 16th November). No doubt some tickets are still available at the Barbican where it opens on 9th December, but for most of us the only real possibility of seeing the play is on November 13th, (in UK and some US and other locations – check RSC Cinema Network for performances near you) when it will be ‘live’ broadcast to cinemas around the world.
UK reviews have been more than favourable, but have focused on David Tennant’s (Richard II) long hair.
“His hair takes some getting used to,” notes The Telegraph’s Dominic Cavendish. “Great gingery-brown extensions trail girlishly downwards. Long, magisterial, quasi-medieval robes add to the effeminate impression.
“With his startled eyes and concentrated frown, Tennant is frail, pale and consistently interesting but the nervous energy he excels in is confined to quarters early on.”
Tennant gives a “mesmerising performance that grows in power as Richard’s authority declines,” according to Michael Billington in The Guardian.
“The packed houses for this production’s run in both Stratford and at the Barbican may have much to do with Tennant’s star presence. But this is the strongest company the RSC has fielded in years.”
The Independent’s Paul Taylor called it “another palpable hit for the Tennant/Doran collaboration”.
You will have to wait for our review until we’ve seen the play at a ‘live’ broadcast on 13th November but there’s a couple of things that already stand out.
There’s a very strong cast. As well as Tennant, there are Michael Pennington as John of Gaunt, Nigel Lindsay as Henry Bolingbroke, Oliver Ford Davies as the Duke of York and Jane Lapotaire as the Duchess of Gloucester (see below).
(Michael Pennington as John of Gaunt above to the right).
The other thing of great interest is that this production marks the start of Gregory Doran’s six-year plan to present the entire Shakespeare canon. With hopefully most, perhaps all, of these productions due to get the ‘Global Live Broadcast’ treatment, it offers us all the opportunity to engage in a 6-year project to re-visit the canon with play-readings as a group, followed by a trip to the cinema to see the RSC’s take on the same play?
Care to join in???
(Find this web-site by Googling ‘Shakespeare MFFE’,
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