The irresistable allure of power informs a new, boldly reimagined production of Shakespeare's history play. Director Joe Hill-Gibbins' The Tragedy of King Richard the Second is set to bring the last Plantagenet ruler into the 21st century.
Having madeMidsummer Night's Dream and Measure for Measure feel thrillingly modern at the Young Vic, Hill-Gibbins has a reputation for re-casting classic drama into experimental and contemporary productions. And the Almeida has a strong track record for Shakespeare revivals that send shockwaves (most recently a sleek, minimalist take on Hamlet starring Andrew Scott).
As the first in Shakespeare's five history plays, Richard II chronicles the wasteful habits and gradual demise of the last Plantagenet king. The more he taxes the land, the more the nobles and citizens resent their ruler. Then the exiled Henry Bolingbroke returns to seize power. Instead of a dramatic defeat in battle, Richard is left to ruminate his own ruin in prison, bemoaning 'I wasted time and now time doth waste me'.
It's a plum role for seasoned Shakespearean actor Simon Russell Beale. Having worked extensively with the Royal Shakespeare and played Macbeth (Almeida) and King Lear (National Theatre), Russell Beale has plenty of experience with the power struggles and poetry of Shakespeare's kings and a keen sense of the rhythms and rhetorics of blank verse.
But it will be a new thrill to see this classically trained actor taking on what's set to a more subversive and contemporary interpretation of Shakespeare.
Public booking for The Tragedy of King Richard the Second at the Almeida theatre opens at 10am on Thursday 4 October.
|What||The Tragedy of King Richard the Second, Almeida Theatre|
|Where||Almeida Theatre, Almeida Street, Islington, London, N1 1TA | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Highbury & Islington (underground)|
10 Dec 18 – 02 Feb 19, 7:30 PM – 10:00 PM
|Price||£10 - £48|
|Website||Click here for more information and tickets|