I got lucky on Saturday the 2nd of August. I had been told that Shakespeare’s Richard III, starring Martin Freeman at the Trafalgar Studios, was sold out for the next two weeks. However, I decided to stand in line for day tickets and managed to get a brilliant seat with lots of leg room for a reasonable price. And I was glad I did…
Director Jamie Lloyd did a fantastic job with this centuries old tragedy, written by playwright William Shakespeare. It may have been written over four hundred years ago, but it’s still impressive in a more contemporary setting. The (literally) bloody rise to power of the Duke of Gloucester is a gripping story with lots of action and impressive dialogue. Although it’s that very dialogue that may also confuse foreign people in particular, who aren’t familiar with the Shakespearean language, including myself. But despite the fact I was struggling a bit, I was impressed with the play as a whole and the staggering amount of acting talent in it.
Actor Martin Freeman is ‘hot in Hollywood’ as they say, starring as the main character in The Hobbit Trilogy and as Dr. Watson in BBC’s Sherlock. This of course attracts large crowds to the theatre, who want to see the actor perform on stage. I appreciate that Mr. Freeman has put his own stamp on the character of Richard III, going for a more low-key intimidating approach. But I sort of missed the naturally menacing charisma that actor Kevin Spacey, who has played Richard III as well, seems to radiate even when he’s not in character. Compliments to Martin Freeman though for being a real gentleman to the fans, who were waiting at the stage door after the performance. I noticed that he takes the time with everyone and looks people in the eye when he hands back a signed notebook.
After the play I asked my favourite actors of Richard III why they think audiences should come and spend an evening at the Trafalgar Studios, to see Jamie Lloyd’s production:
Jo Stone-Fewings (Buckingham): “All the actors give their all, we do so every time. It’s a great interpretation of the play and people should come and see it if they know the play, but they should definitely come and see it if they haven’t seen it!”
Mark Meadows (Clarence): “I think it’s a very urgent production of Shakespeare’s Richard III and it has contemporary resonances, that’s why people should see it in London.”
Forbes Masson (Hastings): “Director Jamie Lloyd has cut it very well, it’s really visceral. Martin Freeman’s performance as Richard is amazing. On top of that it’s a really strong cast and it’s an exciting evening!”
I couldn’t agree more! Have you seen Richard III? Let me know what you think of the play in the comments. Click here for more information on this play and how to book tickets.