The performance we had tickets for was yesterday evening, at the Royal Shakespeare theatre in Stratford Upon Avon.
I booked the whole day off work, and drive up in the morning, so 3 of us were able to meet up and have lunch, and then spend most of the afternoon (joined by the other two members of the party) catching up with one another's news, before a very nice pre-theatre dinner.
And then, the main event!
Unlike the other men in the play, who appear initially in mail, with swords, Richard is a regal, but frail-looking figure with long hair (Which takes a little getting used to) and long, formal robes - making a clear visual contrast between him and his courtiers.
I think Tennant is strongest in the later scenes in the play, as he loses his grip on his Kingdom. Richard does not come across as a likeable character - even in defeat, he is sarcastic, taunting Bolingbroke.
Michael Pennington's John of Gaunt was excellent - as the only other production of Richard II I have seen is the 'Hollow Crown' TV version, in which Patrick Stewart played Gaunt, so Pennington had a lot to live up to. And he did.
And a special mention is due to Oliver Rix (Aumerle), close to, and loving the King, but ultimately murdering him.
|Picture from RSC website and (c) RSC|
The Stratford and London runs are both, I believe, sold out, but the show is going to be broadcast live on 13th November. I recommend it.
Fun fact. On Friday morning, I heard David Tennant talking, on the radio, about a ring which was worn by Ian Richardson when he played Richard II, and given, by his widow, to David Tennant.
Last night, he dropped it. Perhaps he has smaller fingers.