Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Theatre 2015: Review Thirty-Three

Richard II, Shakespeare's Globe, London. October 2015.

After revisiting Hamlet and possibly enjoying it less than the first visit I was actually a little wary about seeing Richard II again. It was a good production earlier in the summer - what if it didn't live up to that, or what if I was wrong in thinking it to be good....

Fortunately I enjoyed our trip to this as much, or if not more than earlier in the season.  I still stand by my comments that too much of the Groundling space was used for acting, which meant that even in our top price seats we missed some of the action but my other niggle about line pacing had definitely been worked on.

I'd thought previously that the speed of delivery was supposed to indicate the King's state of mind and that was clearly the case.  At the start of the play when Richard is firmly in control he speaks slowly and in a measured way but as his monarchy, and his state of mind, unravels he speeds up and becomes frantic.  However in this final performance of the season there was a clear demarcation of the two speeds and no clarity was lost during delivery.

William Gaunt who has been playing John of Gaunt in the production was indisposed yesterday and as per the Globe's procedure (no understudy) his part was read by another actor.  I'm not sure how long W. Gaunt has been off but the stand in was almost word perfect yesterday and if we hadn't been told he was reading the script we'd have totally believed that Gaunt was a man of state papers hence them in his hand.

This was the last outdoor performance of the 2015 season and it ended it with speeches from the out going artistic director.  I'm looking forward to the season announcement for 2016, and celebrating the fact that it will be a female in charge of the theatre.  I am also nervous because it is Dominic Dromgoole's Globe (and Shakespeare) that I have fallen in love with.

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