RSC Richard II

I had two reasons for my trip to London. One I’ll talk about next week, because I don’t want to be too wedding-heavy this week.

So the other reason was sort-of theatre trip. I don’t know if you’ve discovered this, but some theatres have this frankly fantastic scheme whereby performances are filmed and screened live to selected cinemas. For a fraction of the price of a theatre-ticket. I’ve seen several plays this way: The Audience, with Helen Mirren; The Taming of the Shrew; and an all-male production of Twelfth Night with Stephen Fry.

And now I add to that list the RSC’s Richard II, starring David Tennant as the King. And his wig. A good wig, that.

Now, I may not have read many of Shakespeare’s plays, but I’ve seen my share over my few years on this earth. And apart from Macbeth, which was quite honestly studied into submission, I’ve enjoyed them all. There is one version of Macbeth I like. (Well, two, if you include that reference to it in the very first episode of Blackadder.)

While I was growing up, my dad introduced us to comedy programmes from the ’60s and ’70s. There’s one episode of I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again where they take on Shakespeare, and Macbeth. It’s my favourite version of the play. But they make the point that Shakespeare’s plays are full of jokes.

It’s only now that I’ve grown up that I hear and understand the jokes.

Basically, the most important thing to take from this is: If you get the chance to see this production of Richard II, seize it with both hands. I don’t think there’s anything I can say to praise it highly enough. It is brilliant. Go. See it.

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