Richard III: A Complete Review

This fall, director Ron Jenkins was tasked with directing the Shakespeare play, Richard III. After having the privilege of watching previous plays such as Romeo and Juliet and Twelfth Night, there was an incredible standard set by The Shakespeare Company and Hit & Myth; yet with veterans such as Amy Burk and Haysam Kadri, I was almost guaranteed an awe-inspiring performance.

Playing from September 21st – October 8th, I quickly realized this was a must see for any theatre or literature lover. The immense sincerity of the characters, the entrancing set, and near perfect fixation on the themes presented in this play all worked cohesively to amaze . Jenkins managed to turn one of Shakespeare’s great history pieces into a heart wrenching tragedy that had the audience completely absorbed from the first monologue to the curtain call. Traditionally, histories are recounts of the rise and falls of monarchical families, made to please whichever monarch was in power at the time. Shakespeare’s true passion lay in the tragedies and comedies in which his vivid – and sometimes gory – imagination was set free. Richard III, though technically a history, was shown on the Vertigo stage in an empathetic light in which the audience was able to fully appreciate each character they were shown.

Kadri took every monologue and turned it into an intimate look into the deceptive and violent thoughts that were plaguing his character’s mind. By turning to the viewers, facing full front, and breaking the fourth wall (a conceptual barrier that separates the audience from the performance) he managed to spark a connection that would not have otherwise been made. Speaking to other audience members after the play, I heard them say that they felt bad but not for the characters I was expecting. Rather than feeling sorry for the estranged Queen Margaret or the widowed Lady Anne, these theatre goers felt for the villain: Richard. Not only did this solidify Jenkins wonderful vision, but worked perfectly to provide the public with a fresh, vibrant take on a historical Shakespearian piece.

Another character that blew me away and was an unexpected surprise was the character of Queen Margaret. As I previously mentioned, she is the estranged soothsayer that sent a chill down my spine each time she took the stage. Natasha Girgis brought this creepy and ominous character to life and was comparable to the three witches from Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Her presence was a welcome addition to any scene and amazed me with how, even when she wasn’t speaking, she brought an eerie feeling that filled the theatre.

The chemistry between each cast member and the effective use of tech made for an entertaining and enlightening show. From the visuals during the battle to the blocking of Richard’s imminent death, each detail was thought out so perfectly by director Ron Jenkins.

This rendition of Richard III was nothing short of brilliant and is a definite win for The Shakespeare Company and Hit & Myth.

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2 thoughts on “Richard III: A Complete Review

  1. My Dearest Harmey,
    May I suggest that if Law does not prove to be your true calling (although I know that it most definitely will) that you may pursue a career in another field of criticism – Journalism. Your work is always filled with the perfect choice of diction, and a syntax that speaks for the piece beyond its words. These abilities transform your writing from an indulgence to an addiction, and I think that is why I do indeed love you so very much.

    We often see reviews as very cliche, for it seems that if you have read one you have read them all; although, you brought a refreshing twist to each of the points you offered that did not just retell what had taken place on the stage, instead, you offered insight into the complexities of their meanings. As a Drama 30 student, I believe you are one of the few fortunate enough to view the play through the eyes of the director, thus allowing you to make such valid statements, such as “By turning to the viewers, facing full front, and breaking the fourth wall (a conceptual barrier that separates the audience from the performance) he managed to spark a connection that would not have otherwise been made.”

    This piece, like the play in which it discusses, is very well written and full of enlightening ideas regarding the world of theatre, and for that I thank you.

    With Love


  2. Harmehar,

    With this piece, you have obtained every aspect of what makes a theatre play review professional. We have an introduction that enthralls readers and pushes them into reading more, and to discover even further what this play will give them. Without having experienced this play, I have no doubt someone who reads this will have visions in their head. You’ve made Richard the III at the Shakespeare company a must see for those who haven’t had the fortune to see it yet, purely with your words and insight.

    For those who have witnessed this cast in action, it is brought to readers’ attention some fine details that may easily be missed. Characters were analyzed and given an even bigger meaning, and the actors’ acting was put on full profile. The director was not forgotten, but given praise for what assisted the play in being what it became. Your review had a professional feel that shows readers that you aren’t just putting words onto a page for the sake of an assignment. You are putting your wisdom and experience front and center, showing us how incredibly capable you are in writing, acting and directing.

    The title of your blog perfectly captures what you have written: a complete review!

    Thank you for posting!! 🙂


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