Last week we were kindly invited to a performance of Shakespeare’s Richard III at Nottingham Playhouse
The theatre were looking for Leicester bloggers to review the first proper production of the play since the discovery of the real king’s bones in a car park
Despite the local link, neither of us had actually seen the play before
So first things first, two things to admit…
1. We were both feeling pretty tired after work, so were a little worried about facing 2hrs 30 of Shakespeare
2. We (annoyingly) arrived late and missed the first 10 minutes of the show
Two very important points, because…
1. Despite the tiredness and theatre being pretty warm, we were both absolutely captivated by the performance
2. B was waiting for the ‘This is the winter of our discontent’ speech all the way through… that’ll be the opening speech then
So why were we captivated?
Well much of that has to be down the the excellent acting – in particular from Ian Bartholomew as Richard and Milo Twomey as Buckingham, pictured above
Bartholomew’s portrayal of Richard is darkly humorous and in turns quite charming, his soliloquies and asides with the audience reveal his plans and as the play unfolds we found ourselves secretly hoping he would succeed!
The lines were delivered very naturally by all the actors, and although fast paced (they were on stage for 2hrs 30), it was easy to follow the plot
The set is very cleverly designed, a tombstone lined wall gives a medieval feel whilst projections to depict off stage murders and dream scenes add a modern twist
The cast use the whole of the theatre including the stalls and the circle which make for a very involving performance
This is the first major production of Richard III since the discovery of Richard’s bones and this historical find has shed new light on the events leading up to Richard’s death at the battle of Bosworth (we resisted whooping when Leicester and Bosworth were mentioned on stage!)
It is now known that Richard was not wearing a helmet when he was killed and which weapons were used to deliver the two fatal blows that killed him
Director Loveday Ingram has called on this new historical information to create a more authentic re-enactment of Richard’s death on stage
So a very enjoyable evening at the theatre – and it’s made us even more determined that Richard’s bones should stay in Leicester!
Richard III can be seen at Nottingham Playhouse until Saturday, November 16 (and you can see our Q&A with the king himself here!)
Photos above by Robert Day