Thursday, October 13, 2016

Richard III in New Jersey

Last night I saw the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's wonderful production of Richard III in Madison, New Jersey.

Derek Wilson plays the famous crookback in this production, and Ames Adamson, who recently played the title role in Butler off-Broadway, is a sympathetic Lord Hastings, betrayed by Richard when he least expects it.

I think my favorite performance, however, was that of Gretchen Hall, who plays Queen Elizabeth, the unfortunate wife of Edward IV. This is the same role Annette Bening played in the film version with Ian McKellen. While Bening plays Elizabeth as a complete outsider in the court, Hall makes her much more crafty, much more at home with the intrigues around her, which makes her fall all the more terrifying.

In one particularly memorable scene, Richard climbs on top of Anne, menacing her physically and sexually as well as psychologically. The ordeal is horrifying to watch, and ensures we have very little sympathy for Richard when Richmond declares "the bloody dog is dead" at the end.

Like the company's production of Coriolanus this summer, Richard III is well executed. (Pardon the pun.) If you want to see it, the show is running until November 6th.