Richard II Review
By D J Forrest
On the 13th November, 2013, I attended my first ever Shakespeare Play, that was being broadcast LIVE from the RSC to local cinemas everywhere including my town. It was fully booked, every seat taken, and oh so very warm. It was a night to be educated and entertained in the rich tapestry of the English bard, William Shakespeare. The Artistic Director Gregory Doran directed Tennant in the lead role.
I’d never found an interest in Shakespeare before, and I think had it not have been for David Tennant in the lead role, I most probably would have forgone the trip to the cinema. However, from the moment the play started, I was mesmerised by the entire production, from the actors on stage to the actual set and how from scene to scene, floors raised, and lowered, and the change of background through the use of hanging metal beaded curtains, I found every moment enjoyable. However, there were a few times I was lost, due to the speech of the time. But as ever, when the TARDIS was able to translate for me, I soon caught up.
As with most monarchs of the medieval era I’d heard little about Richard II, so it was helpful that Gregory Doran and David Tennant during the introduction – gave us an insight into the monarch.
What I enjoyed about this particular play was the use of the cameras that portrayed this event in that of a film production, although it went out live, the cameras picked up on the faces of the actors, in ways that perhaps wouldn’t be seen by the usual visitors to a stage production. Perhaps it was this reason that I found the whole production captivating, and entertaining. It was also quite loud when the choir burst forth in song and I did feel my ears wince at their high pitched tones.
I especially enjoyed the performances by the other actors on the stage, none more so than Oliver Ford Davies who had the audience in laughter on more than one occasion, David too for that matter, there were a few of the familiar Time Lord traits that I suppose you can’t always shake off, the familiar questioning glances back at whoever spoke to him, to repeat that again. At one point during the production I began to applaud the cast, then realised I was sitting in amongst many people at a cinema and quickly stopped.
When David kissed that young man, I melted – there was a real passion for that scene and at the end of the play I felt for the young man, and the choices he’d made towards his King.
This was a wonderful production and such a brilliant and utterly fantastic way of broadcasting a Shakespeare play to a cinema, I hope they do it again very soon.