When I think of Shakespeare's Richard III, I think of darkness, manipulation, murder, and deceit; Roxana Silbert's RSC production delivers all these. Jonjo O'Neill provides an engaging Richard, both the powerful and humorous in his depiction of Shakespeare's hunchback king. His humor is chilling and his command of the language renders is colloquial, easily understood and delivered. He smiles in the face of his own villainy, a daring choice which has created mixed reviews. However, I am inclined to accept and embrace this choice, because it allows to audience to participate more wholly in the action. We are able to feel the fun and excitment that Richard feels, while the voiceover plays in the back of our minds, "This is wrong. This is horrible. This is madness."
Pippa Nixon as Lady Ann, in contrast to her amazing performances this season in Cardenio and King John, appears masculine, stiff, and uninspiring. Paola Dionisotti as Queen Margaret and Siobhan Redmond as Elizabeth stand out as the strongest female leads this season. Dionisotti in particular gives a rather youthful bodied Margaret, spritly and battle ready - another bold choice that works well against the modern military backdrop of the play.
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