Richard III de Bergerac

The Shakespeare Theatre's current production of Richard III seems to be getting raves. The reviewers don't seem to have seen the same performance I saw. I always say that the country's best director for acting (as opposed to staging & stage business, etc.) is TST's Michael Kahn, and I usually love the star, Geraint Wyn Davies, so I was looking forward to learning something from this production...and came away disappointed.

Can't quite put my finger on what I disliked. Davies' performance was engaging and yet somehow unpersuasive. Perhaps he tried too hard to make Richard in some way likeable; certainly in the performance we saw the audience was with him --but they kept laughing at his treachery. The amusing banter is present of course, but if you are laughing at the murder of the young princes, somehow the wickedness of the character is not coming off. There was a little too much of last season's witty Cyrano (at which Davies' was brilliant) in this Richard. The feeling of being at a comedy was, alas, underscored by Queen Elizabeth's unfortunate resemblance to Margaret Dumont (a fact another reviewer noted too.)

On the other hand, maybe it's not the performance...maybe it's an audience that's beyond being horrified. Maybe that's why no one's moved by the War on Terror anymore --wickedness is just weird and funny.

The reviewers all loved Lady Anne; I thought she was utterly unequal to the part. Maybe in the front seats her facial expressions told the tale; where we were sitting, she was emotionless. Kind of Keanu Reeves if he were a petite woman.

Since there was no characterization to be engaged by (the sets & costumes are good and the final battle scene particularly well-realized), my thoughts wandered to what ol' Bill might have been thinking about. I take it Richard is Shakespeare's Prince --he repudiates Machiavelli by having Richard enact all his advice step by step --with results we wouldn't precisely call successful.