Sandy Pritchard-Gordon

Sandy Pritchard-Gordon
Theatre Blog

Friday, 27 July 2012

Richard III at The Globe

I visited The Globe last night for the first time and it was a magical experience.  The sun shone, our Olympic city sparkled and Mark Rylance as Richard III shone, sparkled and sizzled.  The man is pure genius. Is he improvising - so fresh, clear and, yes, funny is his Richard?  His every speech can be totally understood and the King’s descent into madness is brilliantly portrayed.  I envied the audience in the pit with whom he interacts and got totally caught up in the magic that is The Globe Theatre.  So this is how Shakespeare should be played?  I’m experiencing the bard as did the theatregoers all those years ago.

The magic began on stepping into the auditorium itself.  The scene before me, and atmospheric music from the on-stage musicians, alongside the buzz from the assembled audience took my breath away.  No matter that the seats aren’t the most comfortable, I had a cushion and a back wall to lean against.  No matter that it was hot and sticky, the actors in their period costumes were feeling the heat much more.  It was going to be a great night and so it proved.

What do they say?  Grab the audience from the word go?  Mark Rylance does just that.  His “winter of discontent” has never felt so real and there were so many laugh out loud moments that I’m amazed it’s taken me until now to realise Shakespeare is some comedian.  The whole cast are faultless with some stand out performances, namely Samuel Barnett as Queen Elizabeth, Paul Chahidi as Hastings/Tyrrell and Roger Lloyd-Pack as Buckingham.  Such is the quality of acting from Barnett, Johnny Flynn as Lady Anne and James Garnon as The Duchess of York, that one totally forgets there are no women actors in the cast. There are no gimmicks.  Well just a minor one when the Duchess of York glides on as if on castors;  hilarious.  This is just rudimentary Shakespeare done to perfection. 

I particularly like the fact that the two young Princes are played by two young boys, Austin Moulton/Shanu Hazzan as Edward, Prince of Wales and Lorenzo Allchurch/Dylan Standen as Richard, Duke of York.  They brought an air of authenticity, although I don't know which of the four boys who perform the two roles were on stage last night.

The period dancing which brings the play to a close is a wonderful touch and if the audience reaction and number of curtain calls is anything to go by, I’m not the only one who will rave about this Richard III.

This is one hot ticket.  Roll on Twelfth Night and Mark Rylance as Olivia.  This is also to be directed by the excellent Tim Carroll and I can’t wait.

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