You’re a fan! That’s a like and 5 check-ins!
Last night Laurie and I went to the Trafalgar Studios for a date with Shakespeare, a hobbit and a 70’s cabinet war room set. Sounds like a right mish-mash doenst it.
I know the story of Richard III, i know the controversy that surrounds his story and the `reality` so many believe to be true. I know that Shakespeare wrote the play with the intention of making Elizabeth happy so was NOT going to paint him in a good light at all. So what you have here is 500 years of political propaganda.
The set is very interesting, it was basically a war cabinet from the 70’s filled with old phones, cheap chairs and aging TV’s. Wasn’t sure how the story was going to fit into this, but actually by end thought was a great idea to do it like this.. With some of the final scenes played out VERY cleverly across the 2 sides of the stage.
The very front row had the option for `blood protection` due to some of the more graphic scenes potentially having an area of effect for the blood splatter. Nice touch, both in terms of being polite for the audience but also prepping them to expect something a bit more then visual ;)
So after the initial set design shock had settled, i was a bit unsure what to expect in terms of costume and language used.. Well again this was a hybrid, of original text and 70’s flares and suits. With some great moustaches and pipes making appearances.
So again my mind had to train my eyes and ears to accept the VERY differing look and sound.. Hearing Shakespeare’s exact words said by a geordie in a horribly blue suit with open shirt was quite, erm, unique. The cast themselves, i felt, pulled things off very well and even with a few minor hiccups and mistakes, i felt they put on a fantastic performance.
I heard a few people afterwards complain that they “didnt get it”, referring to the set, and that sound mix was all over the place, being too loud in places and barely audible in others. Whilst i’ll give them the latter to lesser extent, yes it DID have some VERY loud moments, altho i wouldnt go to say it was ever inaudible, i think if they didnt get the set design that was more down to them not seeing how the production wanted to show that Shakespeares’ plays are timeless and can very easily be put into any era and work perfectly..
Now cannot go to see a play with Martin Freeman without mentioning him specifically.. A lot of people say he never actually PLAYS anyone but himself; so in every production, tv, movie etc you see him in its just Martin saying different words.. However with Richard III this was a character made famous for his characteristics (even if they are not actually real just based on peoples version of him!) and on this front Martin pulled it off great.. He moved around the stage engaging the audience both front and back (Trafalgar studios has seating at the back of the stage for a few audience members to sit in), and his comic timing and looks and `finger flex` move (watch the desolation of smaug to see what i mean) were all great and fitted in perfectly.
Its my birthday in Sept, and its the final week for this show, so will be seeing it again, and will be on stage this time. Yes its that good that i want to see it again :)