Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Richard the Third Theatre Review

Matthew Rauch stars in Richard the Third (Photo: Scott Suchman)

Oh, Bloody Richard!

Last season's STC production of Hamlet (our top show of 2018) took a brooding young prince, and transformed him into a playful assassin. In contrast, David Muse's Richard the Third tackles Shakespeare's most ruthless character (Richard of Gloucester) and makes him even nastier. It takes some time (two longwinded chats between Richard and Lady Anne & Lord Hastings) but once the killing begins, there's literally no turning back. One by one, Richard's enemies (perceived and otherwise) are picked off with increasing brutality and lack of remorse. Callousness is expected, but the weight of all this death becomes overwhelming, especially in the play's second half.

202 Words or Less

Matthew Rauch doesn't quite match Laurence Olivier's gold standard portrayal over 60 years ago, but Muse goes to great lengths to make his Richard different (sinister yes, but madder than we're used to.) I miss the hunchback (a bad leg just doesn't cut it) but Rauch really grows into the part across the carnage. Equally impressive, Derrick Lee Weeden as the aforementioned Hastings; and kudos to Debra Booth for her eerie, funereal set... part-dungeon, part-morgue, with a splash of Marathon Man for good measure. A bit too dark for me; but odds are, you won't soon forget it.


Richard the Third runs two hours and 30 minutes with a 15-minute intermission, now through March 10 at Sidney Harman Hall (610 F Street, NW.) Tickets cost $44-$125, and are available for purchase online or by calling (202) 547-1122.