the reviewer has missed the point here. Personally, I found Rylance's warm-hearted villainy far more chilling than any other performance of the role. He has brought out the charm of the role, without which he could not enlist Buckingham to his side, nor could he woo the women. A staggering performance
02 Oct 12
The news that a skeleton has been discovered that might be the remains of Richard III and that it has a deformed spine adds another dimension to the play. If Richard really was a hunchback then it's even more likely that Shakespeare was responsible for a truthful history rather than just recycling Tudor propaganda about reputedly the most evil monarch in our history. All of which makes the Globe's production even more disappointing and, although it borders on heresy to say so, much of the reason lies with Mark Rylance's odd performance. This Richard is a bumbling, childlike creature with hints of a rural accent, delighting in his villainy but with almost no sign of the cold-hearted killer within. Of course Rylance is a proponent of the ludicrous opinion that Shakespeare could not have been the author of his plays; perhaps he is also one of the conspiracy theorists that believes Richard did not murder the Princes in the Tower and is a much misunderstood figure - or, dare one say it, the last vestiges of Rooster Byron still cling to this portrayal. James Garnon, Samuel Barnett and Johnny Flynn are excellent as the queens in this Original Practice production but otherwise it is a major disappointment. - David Baxter
14 Sep 12
A revelation. A celebration of the nature of play acting and the theatre. WOS reviewer has entirely missed the point and the review by JR says it better than I could and I quite agree with that review. Mark Rylance is an absolute instinctual acting genius and he does not get it wrong. It is the cliched outlook of the WOS stage reviewer that fails to link to the Vice figure from the earliest theatrical tradition that informs the play or spot the fun the director has had with Richard's ability to pretend to be something he is not which is the very nature of Acting. It is a celebration of Acting itself and the 3 standing ovations it got when I was there said it all. Magnificent. Loved Sam Barnett as Queen Elizabeth too. Wonderful. Go and get a standing ticket. You will never forget it. - H.L
31 Jul 12
Wonderful - just as how I imagine Shakespeare would have wooed the crowds. - Lymington Lady
28 Jul 12
This is a highly recommended production of a play which, though pretty grisly in its subject matter, does not require the audience to think very much. From the very first speech we are introduced to a man who will stop at nothing to gain his simple ends. We are shown all sorts of brutality, skulduggery and debauchery and remain confidants in Richard's ever-tightening plotting throughout. The soliloquies, while no doubt giving some deeper indication into Richard himself, are 99% conspiracy which the demon king is sharing with us. His words speak as loud as his actions, and in the Globe Theatre - with planes constantly passing overhead and stifling voices - that's pretty loud. Rylance might ham up the comedy of it in a way which may cause dispute among the philistines in his audience, but Richard III is the nearest to a tragic historical comedy Shakespeare ever got without willfully overdosing on any of them. The Henry IV plays are far more immediately comic than tragedy or history, whereas the wittiness of Richard's one-liners (properly realised here) coupled with the deaths of many of the central characters and replete with a historical setting make this definitely a play for those who like all sorts. Ask any historian and they will authoritatively tell you that when first put on, Richard III would have been well-known for its diabolic and humorous sending-up of an unpopular king and his clever words.
A good production all round. - JR
26 Jul 12
Went to the first night. I really wanted to like this. Mark Rylance is a copper-bottomed genius. Saw him in La Bete and Jerusalem and he brought the house down on each occasion. And everyone felt for him following the death of his step-daughter (I think). He performed with panache and costumes were great. Loved the all-male cast and the music. But ... but ... Richard III as a comedy? No! He mumbled his lines and really hammed up the comedy of it. Clarence was great and Roger Lloyd Pack is a class act, but generally it was all a bit Terry and June. Needs more darkness. Cheers at the end seemed to me to be more about an understandable show of support for him personally than a comment on anything to compare with McKellen or Olivier. - Simon
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