A new production of ‘Richard III' brings powerful conviction to Hollywood
Review by Bob Rich
“God, keep me from false friends!” exclaims a prince in Act III, Scene I of Shakespeare's Richard III. After the final act of this new production of the classic play, director David MacDowell Blue told us with clear sincerity that the world would be a much poorer place “without compassion and loyalty.” In this version of Richard III, we witness the necessity of kindness and faithfulness when tragedies unfold due to the absence of those virtues.
In the play's narrative, Richard wants to take the throne, and he is treacherous about getting there. He plots against his brother Clarence, who does not survive Richard's cruel plans. Soon, Richard has a bad dream about those he has betrayed. Richard loses popularity, and gets visited by the ghosts of his former victims. Finally, in a climactic battle, he is defeated, and his opponent takes the throne.
This production brings the drama in the story vividly to life. The cast is passionate and focused. Surging energy can be felt behind every monologue and conversation. The direction is compelling and efficient, keeping the plot moving swiftly.
The design elements add to our enjoyment. Evocative music, and sound effects like clocks and crickets and the clamor of clashing soldiers, enrich our experience.
David, the director, said this play is his favorite Shakespeare. Deep, essential questions are presented to us, without easy answers. For a philosophically rewarding time at the theater, I highly recommend this fine version of a challenging, insightful play.
Richard III: Hour of the Tyrant, written by William Shakespeare, edited and directed by David MacDowell Blue, produced by theatreANON!, produced by: Omen Kaine. Libby Letlow stars in the title role, along with Georgan George as the mad Queen Margaret, Claire Stephens as Richard's brother Clarence, Thomas P. Hanrahan as King Edward, Lauren Simon as their mother the Duchess Cecily, Sahil Kaur as Richard's love interest Lady Anne, Jordan Graham as Lord Hastings, Ayako Karasawa as Queen Elizabeth with Danny Hackin as her brother Lord Dorset, LaMont Hendrix as the Duke of Buckingham, Paula K. King as the Archbishop, Daniel Adomian as King Henry (and the Prince of Wales, and the Apothecary), with Ian Jesse Lasky and London Murray as Tom and Dierdre (the soldiers and messengers wrapped up into two characters), and finally Judith Foster Thompson as Tyrell. Enjoy the production at OhMyRibs Theatre, 6468 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood 90038, Saturdays at 2pm and Sundays at 7pm through May 26. For information, and tickets at $15 each, go online to Brownpapertickets.com/event/4194985, or call OhMyRibs Theatre (323) 207-8243.
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