Antic Disposition have been touring Shakespeare productions round the cathedrals of England for a number of years – this production of Richard III hit minor controversy when it was announced it would be performed in Leicester, where the man himself is buried. The director promised that this would be a sensitive production, but that “The play is the play and there is no doubt in it that he is the villain.” So I was interested to see how they tackled that particular dichotomy.
The answer is – with a modern-dress performance that downplayed the stately tyranny in favour of a more personal villain, and used the closeness of the audience to create a claustrophobic and haunting evening.
Well, a bit of a storm blew up this weekend when it emerged that Shakespeare in the Park, a venerable New York institution which has been putting on productions in Central Park since the 1950s, is this year staging Julius Caesar in modern dress with a titular character who is blonde, has an eastern European wife, and (no spoiler to anyone who knows the play) get assassinated.
Antic Disposition (Southwark Cathedral)
Photograph by Scott Rylander
Although I went on the first night of their 2017 tour, this is a mature production of Henry V that has been on tour for at least one year, and it shows in the sure-footedness of the telling.
Grays Inn Hall (Antic Disposition)
This was a bit of a last minute one for me – I don’t know when I booked the tickets but I’d managed to forget I was going. And if I’d missed out that would have been a real shame*.