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Theatre Review: Richard III At Rose Theatre York

By Julia Parry | 16th August 2018

Richard III

This summer has heralded the triumphant return to York for Richard III. His remains may be controversially interred in Leicester Cathedral but his heart and soul plainly still remain in York.

After yesterday’s performance at the pop up Shakespearean inspired Rose Theatre, the audience’s rapturous applause and whoops of delight for the ultimate psychopathic villan were hearteously in the camp of Richard.

The title role is heroically performed by Dyfan Dwyfor, one leg bound in a tortuous looking caliper, hunchback and withered arm giving Richard - Duke of Gloucester, then King - a puppet like gait: when on stage, he didn’t stop moving in a trance-inducing, dance-like manner (imagine Johnny Rotten in full flow). Dwyfor gives a truly magnificent performance, his wicked manipulation of his family, friends and courtiers played out in the best tradition of a modern megalomaniac dictator - ‘Fake news’ never far away from his scheming ambition.

Dwyfor’s rapport with the audience was another clever manipulation; amongst his tyrannical confessions and rants of bitterness and fury was sprinkled a twinkling gesture of humour and fun - keeping them on his side despite his horrific actions.

Beginning in the first act, Scene One, Richard gives the speech, "Now is the winter of our discontent, Made glorious summer by this son of York; and all the clouds that lowered upon our house……" The heavens opened and a torrential cloudburst plummeted into the open-top courtyard and onto the hundred or so ‘underlings’ below. With an upward glance and a wry smile from Richard, the now drenched groundlings burst out laughing. (Side note: there are rainproof ponchos for sale if required).

Renowned West End and twice Olivier Award winner theatre director Lindsay Posner has once again triumphed with this production. The cast wear a bizarre mixture of modern day clothing (costume design by Scarborough-born Sue Willmington), giving the production a timeless feel, the shocking violence on stage resonating with the World news of today.

The Shakespearean tradition of travelling players has been a fabulous addition to the city of York this summer, bringing alongside the theatre its own Elizabethan village of refreshments, food and entertainment.

A fabulous experience not to be missed. Open until September 2. For tickets and more information, click below.

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