I was intrigued – as an avid Shakespeare fan, frequent visitor to the amazing Shakespeare North Playhouse in Prescott and having an avid fascination of the venomous Richard III (as most people have), I was really looking forward to seeing Richard III a one person show in the intimate Brite theatre. To cover the unscrupulous story of Richard III – a King renowned for his deformed body as much as his villainous ways, (his notoriety recently escalated due to his remains being found in a Leicester car park), was, I would imagine be no mean feat. But the magnificent Emily Carding, who has performed this show internationally across the UK, Iceland, Prague (winning every single award at the Fringe), Edinburgh (winning the ‘Bobby award at the Fringe), Rome, Verona, Slovakia, Romania, Pakistan, St Petersburg, Kansas City and New York – all to high praise – met this challenge with gusto and left me and the others in the audience in awe.
As I entered the theatre, its bright lights shining a one haloed figure, the usher warned – there’s some audience participation – so be ready! Oh no – I thought – but the participation was conducted wonderfully, with the ‘volunteer’ audience members representing the blights and loves of Richard’s life – King Edward, Lady Anne, Lord Buckingham, Lord Grey, Clarence to name but a few. The ‘cast’ were drawn into the believable world that Emily portrayed and like moths to a flame were mesmerised by the sublime portrayal of the wicked king, the 15th century world of deceit and the crowning of this evil man in 1483. The final lines – “a horse, a horse – my kingdom for a horse”, before Richard died – was remarkable.
Both the poet/writer of this era – Mr William Shakespeare- and the director of the performance director Kolbrun Bjort Sigfusdottir, would be so proud of this amazing performance. The scene when Richard realises that he is an evil murderous tyrant was an intense moment when, with no dialogue, Emily owned every breathe in the air and has stayed with me ever since.
Richard III is showing until Saturday 1st July. Tickets from www.shakespearenorthplayhouse.co.uk/event/ – Prices £3 – £30
Reviewer Jan Mellor
Reviewed: 29th June 2023
North West End UK Rating: