RSC stages Rick the Deuce

10 Dec
Richard II

Richard II – he’s more exciting than you think

We’ve always had a certain apprehension when it comes to seeing Shakespearean plays. Shakespearean language, though poetic, can be hard for us normal folks to figure out. What if we don’t understand what’s going on? What if we don’t like it? What if it’s boring? Such were the fears going through our heads as we went to  see a high-definition video of Richard II staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Keep calm, we told ourselves.  After all, David Tennant, plays the title role.  He was the 10th Doctor, so that had to count for something, right?  Still, it was was one of the Bard’s historical plays, and history is boooooring.  If worse came to worst, we could always discreetly nod off.  As long as we didn’t snore, who’d be the wiser?

What a surprise for us, then.  We always thought that life in medieval England was about as slow as molasses, but in the hands of the Bard, there’s always something hittin’ the fan.   And while we might have missed a few subtleties here and there, we had no trouble understanding what was going on, which was a big relief to us plebeians.  We need more screenplays like this one. The play is set in 1399, when the idea that a king’s power was bestowed by God was prevalent and this concept informs the action of the play.

The acting is of course, top notch.  Tennant plays Richard as an effete, opportunistic, dotty character who nevertheless captures our sympathies in the second act.  He’s not the only one shines – Jane Lapotaire as the Duchess of Gloucester kicks acting booty, as do Michael Pennington as John of Gaunt, and Nigel Lindsay as Henry Bolingbroke (we could go on – there’s not a bad performance in the whole production.)

As to the staging, the lighting, and the look of the thing, let’s just say that if you see it, you’re gonna love it.

So, if this production comes to your town,  go see it and don’t be as freaked out as we were before we saw it.

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