Fancy watching a bit of deformed despotism? Perhaps within the hallowed walls of the Tower of London? Next weekend offers a rare opportunity to see Shakespeare’s Richard III — featuring one of the playwright’s most diabolical villains on his murderous path to the throne — staged within the very palace where many of the scenes are set.
Theatre company Love & Madness have adapted Ben Kidd’s modern dress production for a mere two night run at the Tower. This site specific performance follows a 10 week sold-out run at the Riverside Studios in early 2010 and a UK tour. It may be a magnificent setting, but creating a theatre out of an ancient castle is no mean feat. Artistic Director Neil Sheppeck has been explaining some of the challenges on his blog.
“As the Tower is still open to the public on our performance days we can’t begin to rig the set, lighting and sound until 6pm, and we can’t leave it up for the second night. So each night we need to effectively build a theatre space from scratch in just one hour.
“Each night the Yeoman Warders and military guard lock the outer gates of the Tower and deliver the keys to the Resident Governor. This ceremony has been taking place every night, without fail, for at least 700 years. Obviously our production can’t interrupt this procedure…We need to time it so the Ceremony of the Keys occurs during the second half, and thus isn’t disturbed…”
Will they pull it off? And what will the ravens think? If all goes to plan, this sounds like it could be a theatrical event not to be missed. Keep an eye out for our verdict in early April.
Richard III will play at the Tower of London 1-2 April. Tickets range from £10 to £38, and are available from Waterloo East Theatre