Saturday, 21 December 2013

Theatrical Interlude 33

Richard II, RSC at The Barbican, London. December 2013.

This play is one of the ones that I've looked at in a little bit of detail this semester and so for the first time I went into the auditorium with some insight into the play. For which I am quite glad.

Whilst this was a good production, with actors who were clearly at home speaking Shakespeare's words clearly - as if they were normal dialogue and not something special -  the start of the first half to me seemed a little unclear.

From the reading I've done I knew why the King behaved as he did but I didn't see that on the stage. In fact the start of the play was only explained in the last half of the last act...

On the plus side other scenes that I'd read in the play but that hadn't made an impact on me for their importance did make a lot more sense on seeing them on the stage, but even then to make them stick out perhaps they were over played a little for some light relief in a dark play?

The plot of Richard II is very similar to that of Edward II (history does repeat itself after all!) and having seen both plays in quick succession I can say that while Edward II was quite frankly a little too experimental at times I found it was easier to understand why that King had to be deposed. In Richard II he was a little wishy-washy, vague and had too much self importance but the real reasons why his nobles felt he should go didn't come across. I know that in general it is better to show than to tell but in this case I thought we needed a little more of both!

I'm very pleased to have seen this production as David Tennant was very good but apart from his hair and the overall impression of the play I don't think anything else from the production will stay with me - it was a nice way to spend an afternoon but not a standout production for me.

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