Dublin Theatre Festival: DruidShakespeare Richard III

Review by Siofra Ni Shluaghadháin

As part of this year’s Dublin Theatre Festival, the Druid Theatre Company have brought a revived and reimagined version of a classic Shakespeare play to a new generation.

Generally, Shakespeare’s history plays don’t have the best of reputations. They’re seen as stuffy, heavy going, and the bane of any secondary school student’s existence. It’s often difficult to understand jokes some four hundred years down the line, particularly when they involve historical and contemporary references.

Thankfully, Druid’s Richard III is not the average adaptation of a history play. Vividly and cinematically crafted, this production, directed by the formidable Gary Hynes, gets right to the core of what theatre is meant for; a form of entertainment. It takes the very best of theatrical talent, both on and off stage, and recreates this classic play for the cinematic era.

Aaron Monaghan cuts an impressive (and cartoonishly villainous) figure as the titular character. He brings a physicality to the role which bridges the gap between the stage and the understanding of the audience. His performance is supported by the excellent work of the Druid ensemble, with notable mention being made to the clinical and comical performance of Marty Rea as Catesby.

This version of Richard III was a comic romp, accentuated by moments of articulate choreography (Derek Bolger).

The final piece-de-resistance of this production lay in the score, composed by Conor Linehan, which in both its presence and absence ties all of the other elements together.


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