Sep 12, 2016

Richard III

Trailer from Youtube

I saw  the Almeida theater production of Shakespeare's Richard III last week at Finnkino (part of the Event Cinema shows this year). The play was directed by Rupert Goold, with Ralph Fiennes as the man himself and Vanessa Redgrave as Queen Margaret.

There's been some speculation on whether the historical Richard really was the villain he's painted, but Fiennes gave us a truly despicable Richard to loathe. His Richard III didn't plot and manipulate as much as threatened and took what he wanted. Fiennes emphasised the character's brutality, especially towards women, and his cold stare makes you shiver. There isn't any redeeming characteristic in this Richard, nothing to sympathise with.

The production began with the exhumation of Richard's bones at the archaeological dig site in 2012, and then shifted back in time. The costuming was mostly modern day, with some armor thrown in. I felt they used the modern setting well, and there were some funny moments, especially with the cell phones.

The cast gave fantastic and moving performances. In addition to Fiennes, I really enjoyed Redgrave's Queen Margaret and Susan Engel as Richard's mother.

My favorite Richard III is still the nineties Ian McKellen movie version, but this one was well worth seeing. I have the Hollow Crown version waiting, but I haven't gotten around to watching it yet. It will be fun to compare performances when I do.

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