Theatre Review: Richard III @ The Globe

Mark Rylance as Richard III

The Globe’s latest production of Richard III combines a traditional setting with lively characterisation that brings depth and intensity to Shakespeare’s tragic and bloody tale of greed.

Mark Rylance takes to the stage in the title role, marking his first performance at the Globe since leaving the theatre as artistic director in 2005.

Rylance’s Richard is captivating. He revels in the grotesque splendour of the character, bringing to life his Machiavellian intent and injecting both humour and pathos into Shakespeare’s original script.

Director Tim Carroll has been faithful in his interpretation of a traditional Shakespearean setting, right down to having an all male cast. Samuel Barnett, Johnny Flynn and James Garnon play Queen Elizabeth, Lady Anne and the Duchess of York respectively. They bring tragedy and depth to the roles without lapsing into being Python-esque portrayals of women by men.

Another notable performance is given by Roger Lloyd-Pack, best known for playing Trigger in Only Fools and Horses. He makes an excellent Duke of Buckingham, one of the key protagonists in Richard’s rise and fall.

The setting is enriched by the quality of the costumes, props (including a highly detailed severed head of the doomed Hastings) and music played between scenes. Aside from the quality of the individual performances, the attention to detail that Carroll brings to this interpretation of a well worn classic really helps lift the performance.

The real star of the show is of course Rylance, whose Richard is highly nuanced but less grotesque than many portrayals. From the moment he enters and announces that “I am determined to proved the villain,” the audience is engrossed in his portrayal of the famous tyrant.

The Globe’s production is a finely executed piece of theatre that showcases an actor at the top of his game in the title role. A must see.

Richard III is at The Globe at 7.30pm plus weekend matinees, ends 13 October. Tickets £5-£39.

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