Reviewed – 24th August 2017
“a brilliantly atmospheric and taut drama”
In Antic Disposition’s production of Shakespeare’s Richard III, in which the villainous monarch-on-the-make plots and murders his way to the crown, London’s Temple Church lends an added imposing majesty to the heady drama.
Although, maybe not so villainous. Toby Manley’s Richard, described by Shakespeare as a “bottled spider,” is depicted as far more chirpy than despicable in the first half, and this despite the fact that most of the scenes move too fast for many of his jokes to land. Nevertheless, the acting is excellent across the board, especially Bryony Tebbutt in her three roles as Lady Anne, the Duke of York and the Murderer, and the mood soon darkens in a thrilling second half.
The staging is also well done. Light is used in brilliantly creative ways: a shadow will fall upon the audience when a character (usually, and aptly, Richard) appears on the opposite end of the stage from where our attention is directed. Characters off-stage pace around the back of the seats. The pared back use of sound effectively invokes the dread and terror of the court and the battlefield.
All of this culminates in a brilliantly atmospheric and taut drama. That it could have used a tad more pace in the first half does not detract from the excellent and gripping denouement.
Reviewed by Alice Gray
Photography by Scott Rylander
is at Temple Church until 9th September