Richard III (3)

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Temple Church

antic disposition richard iii 01

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.

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No offense i’ th’ world

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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.

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Lie still and dream

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I think Shakespeare must have been a man after my own heart. By which I don’t just mean the fart jokes and the humanity, but also that he was clearly a man who knew the splendid weirdness of dreams. Not everyone does – I have friends who swear they never dream, and those who think an unusual dream is one where they go back to school and have a history lesson – but taught by their old geography teacher (the horror!). I on the other hand belong to that group of humanity who nightly gets vivid technicolour spectacles which have all the plot of the latest Hollywood blockbuster, and almost as many dinosaurs. And I suspect Shakespeare was too.

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