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Richard III - Review By Lucy Wakefield

On the 28th October, I saw a performance of Richard III at the Nottingham Playhouse.

The play had a contemporary atmosphere which was achieved by the use of costumes (suits for the men, evening dresses for the women and modern army uniforms during the final battle scene) and music (Disco). Despite this, they still used original Shakespearean text.

The play tells the story of Richard III’s rise to power destroying anyone who stood in his way.  The actor (Ian Bartholomew) who played the lead role, King Richard III enticed the audience into his twisted mind. In some scenes he flipped between emotions from paranoia to murderous to remorseful/depressed after having another character killed. Bartholomew’s portrayal was charming and occasionally funny and left me unsure whether I should like him or not.

The artforms involved were theatre, dark comedy, drama, visual and sound effects.

I chose to see this performance because I love Shakespeare and I had not seen this play before.

I adored the costumes because I felt they had three elements: Medieval, Modern and Futuristic. I thought it was clever of the costume designer to give red and white dresses to the actresses who portrayed the Duchess of York (White for the House of York) and Queen Elizabeth (Red for the House of Lancaster).

Although I didn’t like how the visual and sound effects made me feel, they were cleverly done! During Scene Six where Clarence was drowned in wine, his fight for life was shown using black and white projection to chilling effect. In the final battle scene when Richard was horrifically dispatched, the director relied on sound effects and the actor’s responses to them rather than physical contact between the actors.

I would recommend this play to people with a love of Shakespeare and dark comedy.

I learnt it was possible to use the audience as a prop during the coronation scene. The actors were scattered around the audience whilst Richard was on the balcony of the theatre giving his speech. The audience became the crowd for his coronation which made me feel like an extra in the performance.

- Lucy Wakefield

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