Alongside last year's Twelfth Night, the best thing the Globe has done. They have breathed new life into a difficult play. Great performances and magnificent costumes. I'm beginning to wonder what's the point of going anywhere else to see Shakespeare? - USER: Whatsonstage.com (126.96.36.199)
10 Sep 03
I was disappointed by this extremely average production. Mark Rylance has typically brilliant moments but overall this is badly directed, (some of the basic blocking is faulty to say the least) and some ofthe performances excrusiatingly dull. Most significantly though the story isnot told clearly enough.
Disappointing - USER: Whatsonstage.com (188.8.131.52)
22 Aug 03
A good solid production of a shakespeare play ive never seen or read before. OK so its not inspiring, but if you want to see good solid shakespeare as entertainment pop down to the globe. Although the production is not inspiring the main performance from one of our greatest Shakesprean actors Mark Rylance as Richard is. He is simply amazing every time I watch him he gives such depth and passion, ans here he is captivating as the child like king who is despised. Liam Brenan is also very good as his rival Bolingbroke, with his serious stoop and commanding voice. The rest of the cast is mostly solid with only a few leaks, but do not let this put you of Rylance is worth the ticket price alone. - USER: Whatsonstage.com (184.108.40.206)
05 Jun 03
mark Rylance does sreal the show rather but it is a very enjoyable production, perhaps without the real pathos and the real cruelty of the Sam West RSC version a while back. - USER: Whatsonstage.com (220.127.116.11)
03 Jun 03
It astonishes me how Rylance always manages to find new depth to the text..he was both the saddest and funniest Dick2 I've ever seen. Though the Duchess of (York?), in the scene near the end where she pleads for Aumerle's life, almost stole the show. - USER: Whatsonstage.com (18.104.22.168)
30 May 03
The Globe’s new season opens with a kingly performance that matches, if not surpasses Adrian Lester’s Henry V just down the river.
The problem with this play is that Shakespeare, a doughty respecter of a monarch’s right to rule, has to justify Bolingbroke’s coup, but the poet in him can’t resist giving Richard the best lines, making us strongly sympathetic. Rylance makes this Richard a mincing, prattling, greedy, uncaring snob, uttering a little laugh at the idea of Bolingbroke winning support from an oyster wench, and hurrying to John of Gaunt’s bedside with a handkerchief covering his face.
And yet, he spokes the poetry so beautifully and is acutely aware of his own failings that at the end, the audience is completely on his side. It’s a very human Richard, but some of the play’s powerful political dimension has been lost in this production.
Rylance is aided by a strong cast: Liam Brennan’s blunt Bolingbroke, John McEnery’s plain-speaking Gaunt (although he seemed remarkably healthy for a man on his deathbed), Bill Stewart’s rather tetchy York and a warm Queen from Michael Brown.
Tim Carroll’s rather brisk direction offers us an Elizabethan version of this play, the programme sets out how much research went into the authenticity of the costumes, but that would have counted for nothing if the audience is not engaged. Richard II is not the most accessible of Shakespeare’s plays, but the Globe audience ignored the cold weather and was gripped right to the end.
One minor quibble though: Bolingbroke’s title Hereford, is pronounced in the modern way with the three syllables instead of the customary two: it does tend to interfere with the metre in several and seems a strange decision to take in this most lyrical of plays.
But this is only carping, Rylance’s Richard is a treasure and should have audiences flocking to Bankside over the summer.
- USER: Whatsonstage.com (22.214.171.124)
20 May 03
Mark Rylance and the Globe have done it again! Rylance turns in a thoughtful performance as the hapless RII, losing his crown to a most uncousinly, if pragmatic Bolingbroke (a rather laid back reading from Liam Brennan, who only gets into his stride when shouting at Richard's murderer at the end).
Outside of John of Gaunt, the company's vocals are curiously subdued (hence the four stars, not five). But the acting and the ensemble work are wonderful. Much of the play is mined for comic value, which goes down well with the appreciative groundlings.
This is somewhat less histrionically played than the Ralph Fiennes and even the prehistoric Ian McKellen versions. I would have wished for the level of excitement that this obviously energetic company put into their joyful, dancing curtain call.
Nobody rejoices in "Shakespeare performed" quite as transparently as the Globe ensembles. Turn up the energy a notch. - USER: Whatsonstage.com (126.96.36.199)
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