Skip to main content

Richard 111

King’s Theatre, Edinburgh
4 stars
The men in white coats looking like zombified extras from The Texas
Chainsaw Massacre and wielding baseball bats are the first of many
striking images in Edward Hall’s radical redux of Shakespeare’s
nastiest imagined history play. The Victorian hospital setting which
Hall and designer Michael Pavelka go for in this production for Hall’s
all-male Propeller ensemble opens up a world of possibilities, as
Richard Clothier’s callipered-up schemer moves through a gothic whirl
of screens, sinister looking chairs and operating tables splattered red
like some long banned video nasty.

Clothier’s Richard is a sly, psychopathic charmer, wooing the girls
with comedy flowers just as soon as he’d bite off their fingers to get
back his ring for his next conquest. His hired assassins are like some
Burke and Hare style music hall double act as they prey on Clarence,
the increasingly high death count eerily punctuated by jolly
sing-songs. The little princes are ingeniously played by puppets, while
the men in frocks playing the female parts seem to fit perfectly with
all this self-conscious weirdness. The second half is even more
playful, with the scary chorus loitering in the auditorium before a
guitar accompanied punk anthem onstage helps make Richard, with his
limp and long leather coat, resemble a posher Ian Dury holding court.

This isn’t trendy gimmickry, however. Hall and his cast of fourteen may
go hell for leather with such a pop art smorgasbord, but they never
lose sight of the play’s inherent seriousness. As Richard gives a final
defiant chuckle before giving up the ghost, his demise looks like the
hollowest of victories. Bloody, bloody England indeed.

The Herald, February 25th 2011

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Honourable K.W. Harman: Ltd Ink Corporation

31 Bath Road, Leith Docks, March 17th-20th

In a monumental shipping container down by Leith Docks, a Sex Pistols tribute band is playing Anarchy in the U.K.. on a stage set up in the middle of the room. Either side, various constructions have been built in such a way so viewers can window shop as they promenade from one end of the room to the next, with the holy grail of a bar at either end.

Inbetween, there’s a confession booth and a mock-up of a private detective’s office with assorted documentation of real-life surveillance pinned to the walls. Two people seem to be having a conversation in public as if they're on a chat show. An assault course of smashed windows are perched on the floor like collateral damage of post-chucking out time target practice. A display of distinctively lettered signs originally created by a homeless man in search of a bed for the night are clumped together on placards that seem to be marking out territory or else finding comfort in being together. Opp…

Scot:Lands 2017

Edinburgh's Hogmanay
Four stars

A sense of place is everything in Scot:Lands. Half the experience of Edinburgh's Hogmanay's now annual tour of the country's diverse array of cultures seen over nine bespoke stages in one global village is the physical journey itself. Scot:Lands too is about how that sense of place interacts with the people who are inspired inspired by that place.

So it was in Nether:Land, where you could see the day in at the Scottish Storytelling Centre with a mixed bag of traditional storytellers and contemporary performance poets such as Jenny Lindsay. The queues beside the Centre's cafe were further enlivened by the gentlest of ceilidhs was ushered in by Mairi Campbell and her band.

For Wig:Land, the grandiloquence of the little seen Signet Library in Parliament Square was transformed into a mini version of the Wigtown Book Festival. While upstairs provided a pop-up performance space where writers including Jessica Fox and Debi Gliori read eithe…

Nomanslanding

Tramway, Glasgow until July 2nd
Four stars

In the dead of night, the audience are split in two and led under-cover into lamp-lit tented structures. Inside, what look like peasant women on the run lead us down a ramp and into a large circular pod. It feels part cathedral, part space-ship, and to come blinking into the light of such a fantastical structure after stumbling in the dark disorientates and overwhelms. Sat around the pod as if awaiting prayers to begin, we watch as performers Nerea Bello and Judith Williams incant mournfully on either side of the room. Their keening chorales embark on a voyage of their own, twisting around each other by way of the international language of singing. As if in sympathy, the walls wail and whisper, before starting to move as those on either side of the pod are left stranded, a gulf between them.

This international co-commission between Glasgow Life and the Merchant City Festival, Sydney Harbour Foreshaw Authority in Australia and Urbane Kienste …