Richard, Duke of Gloucester, is in the line for the throne if only the people before him would get out of his way. If they won’t – well, he can help with that…

David Lawrence (Richard) is gleefully nasty. The audience is made his conspirators as he wreaks havoc through the lives of those around him. He behaves appallingly, then talks situations around to his own advantage, finishing off by looking at us as if to say “Can you believe they fell for that?!”
Heart strings are tugged by three women Ania Upstill (Lady Anne Neville), Kirsty Bruce (Elizabeth Wydville), and Brianne Kerr (Richard’s Mum). Kerr in particular is very affecting and believable as someone who knows what is likely to happen yet is powerless to stop it. The rest of the characters are played by various members of the company. There are also several young additions to the regular cast who do really well in articulating Shakespeare’s words. I particularly like the sarcastic spin that Mia Van Oven (Prince Richard) and Maddie Gillespie (Prince Edward) give to their lines.

We’re up in the dome space at BATS Theatre with a scaffolding tower at one end and the throne in among the audience seats at the other. There is a family tree setting out the links between all the characters on the floor. The actors helpfully point to the various names when talking about the family connections. There are a lot of them, so this design device is very welcome. A small raised area is off to the side with the wall covered by curtains. This is one of the spaces for the Bacchanals customary political commentary. (You’ll laugh because otherwise you’d cry.)

THE TRAGEDY OF KING RICHARD III is a fast scramble through the life of a man who does the most appalling things, yet gets away with it. Recommended.

  • RICHARD III, on at BATS Theatre until Saturday 31 January 31 2015.