Freeman’s casting comes hot on the heels of his Sherlock co-star Benedict Cumberbatch’s announcement that he will play Hamlet onstage later this year. It is a truly exciting time for the West End, having two such well-loved British actors in two such great Shakespeare plays. Cumberbatch will also be playing Richard III himself in an upcoming BBC adaptation, and it will be fascinating to see how each actor tackles the complex, volatile king.
This is Freeman’s first professional Shakespearean performance, though not his West End debut. He most recently appeared in the Royal Court runaway success, Clybourne Park, and earlier in his career performed at the National, the Lyric Hammersmith, West Yorkshire Playhouse and Soho Theatre to name a few. What makes his Richard III casting all the more daring is Freeman’s association with grounded, ‘ordinary’ people' — as a sales rep in the smash hit BBC series The Office, Arthur Dent in the film version of The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and a string of sketch comedy programmes. He can currently be seen in the TV series, Fargo, as a man trapped in his own life, who escapes it by murdering his own wife.
Joining him will be Gina McKee as Queen Elizabeth. She too is an accomplished stage actress who has made a living playing gentle, thoughtful characters on film and television. You may well know her from Notting Hill, Our Friends in the North, Waking the Dead and more recently as an Italian noblewoman on The Borgias. The brilliantly fiesty Queen Margaret will be played by Maggie Steed, a doyenne of the RSC.
Talented young director Jamie Lloyd is at the helm. As the youngest man to appear in The Stage magazine’s Most Powerful People in Theatre list since Sam Mendes, Lloyd is an inspired choice. His revival of the musical Urinetown with Jonathan Slinger this year was a huge success and he is already tipped to take control of the upcoming West End staging of Back to the Future.
This is a not-to-be-missed theatre event to see Martin Freeman follow in the footsteps of England’s greatest actors and take on Shakespeare’s most murderous king.
|What||Richard III, Trafalgar Studios|
|Where||Trafalgar Studios, 14 Whitehall, London, SW1A 2DY | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Charing Cross (underground)|
01 Jul 14 – 27 Sep 14, 12:00 AM
|Website||Click here to book via ATG Tickets|