Director: Gregory Doran
Writer: William Shakespeare
Cast: David Tennant, Nigel Lindsay, Sean Chapman, Michael Pennington, Oliver Rix, Jane Lapotaire
[No, I didn’t go to London again, I saw the live broadcast at my local cinema. I’m really happy about all this theater in the cinema, btw. It’s a wonderful development and we’re getting more and I love it.]
Richard II (David Tennant) has been king for pretty much ever, but when the Duke of Gloucester is murdered and Richard’s cousin Henry Bolingbroke (Nigel Lindsay) accuses Thomas Mowbray (Antony Byrne) of said murder and squandering royal money, the first cracks appear in Richard’s claim to power. He banishes Henry and Thomas both, instead of seeing die in a duel, but Henry isn’t satisfied.
Richard II is just like theater should be. The cast is great, the set design brilliant, the play is wonderful. Gave me goosebumps all over and made me realize I really have to read more Shakespeare. In short, it’s a full success.
After the debacle of the last Shakespeare play I saw it’s good to get one that’s actually fantastic again. I mean, I knew it wasn’t Shakespeare’s fault, but still. Amazingly enough, too, I laughed more in this tragedy than during that Much Ado About Nothing version.
I really have to applaud Gregory Doran for that. He hits all the right notes in the play, he gives all his characters the room and he has a good handle on the pacing. I don’t know if there’s anything else you could want from a director.
Though I’m pretty sure that his job was made easy by the wonderful cast. Above all, of course, there’s David Tennant who dominates the entire play. His Richard is petulant and spoiled, but also trying his best – which sometimes isn’t very good – to be a good king. He’s an asshole and a poor soul. Sometimes you hate him, sometimes you love him but he’ll never leave you cold. The rest of the cast was really excellent, too, but kinda outshined.
And the stage design! They opted for minimalist here, too, but contrary to the Much Ado production, it actually worked and looked wonderful. It never looked barren. Instead it gave the huge, clashing personalities their much-needed space. I draw my hat for the entire thing.
Summarizing: See it and rejoice.