Richard III – reviewed by Rachel Suttle

On Monday 3 February, a number of theatre lovers were able to attend a performance of Shakespeare’s Richard 111 at the Maynardville Open Air Theatre. Since this is a play which the Grade 11 AS Levels girls are studying, it was a show which was of particular interest.

It is currently being performed until the 22 February 2014. It is the first time, since the theatre was opened, that this play is being performed. Surprisingly, it is also the first production of this play in Cape Town.

Richard III takes place in England shortly after a long and bloody civil war between the royal family of York and of Lancaster, the Yorks have won and England is being ruled by King Edward IV. The play tells the story of Richard, King Edward IV’s youngest brother, and how he manages to take the throne for himself. Richard, a deformed and crippled man, is a conniving character and as the play progresses, the play reflects his dark personality which becomes more gloomy.

Warrick Grier, who plays Richard in this production, was able to connect with the audience in a way that evoked emotions of hate and awe towards his character. The audience I spoke to also agreed that each role was excellently casted, creating an authentic production.

Although each scene was staged and performed with precision, the scenes that had the greatest impact on all those watching was that of Richard’s dream and that of the Battle of Bosworth. The director was inspired in the way she adapted the dream as she was able to terrify, if not stun the majority of the audience with the use of two demons in the scene. The choreography in the battle scene was performed flawlessly and the build up of music, shouting, screams, sword fighting, lighting and staging were all encompassed realistically to create a dramatic climax as well as an excellent conclusion to a most riveting play.  Being the longest of Shakespeare’s plays to have ever been written, Lara Bye (the director) was clearly set out for a challenge which she effectively accomplished.