I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
If ever there was a monarch who should have ended up buried under a car park, it is Shakespeare’s Richard III, “that bottled spider.”
I attended a performance of the play by Calgary’s Shakespeare Company and Richard was embodied by Haysam Kadri, who played Macbeth masterfully last year. He plays the villain extremely well and gave us a Richard with an impish gleam in his eye, giving the audience wry asides about his plans. I will go see this man in anything he should choose to act in—he is marvelous. I heard him interviewed about the play on the radio Saturday morning, where he did the “winter of our discontent” soliloquy and I was immediately squee-ing like a fangirl.
Conventional wisdom had it that Shakespeare had magnified Richard’s deformity, to match his twisted mind. However, the body recovered from under the car park and identified as Richard III definitely had severe scoliosis. Kadri must have needed badly to stretch after this performance, spending most of it bent over, with one heel rarely touching in the floor.
This was an abridged version of the play, condensed into a two hour performance. As a result, the action seldom paused for very long and the plot proceeded at a break-neck pace. A couple of the roles were gender-reversed, to make more parts for women in the production and that mostly worked (although there was one scene where the woman who played Catesby appeared as a dominatrix and it just seemed extremely awkward and out of place).
Now I am just disappointed that I will be out of town during the next play, All’s Well That Ends Well and that they have chosen to remount the extremely successful Macbeth instead of choosing another play for this season.