Magazine article Variety

Freeman Rules in 'Richard III'

Magazine article Variety

Freeman Rules in 'Richard III'

Article excerpt

Freeman Rules in 'Richard III'

Richard III

Trafalgar Studios. London; 398 $119 top.

Starring: Martin Freeman, Simon Coombs

Watching the infamous title character slash his way through his family tree en route to the throne in Shakespeare's "Richard III" tends to be like entering a maze: You know where it's headed but the journey is almost absurdRlchard ill ly confusing. Not here. Jamie Lloyd's vigorous production is remarkable for its fierce lucidseats; ity. It's selling fast due to the casting of Martin Freeman, but audiences are getting a whole lot more than just his flinty, laser-like performance.

As with his highly successful production of "Macbeth," Lloyd is keenly aware of attracting audiences unfamiliar with the story. With clarity as his goal, he and his designer, Soutra Gilmour, swap fidelity to the historical period for a more contemporary, instantly recognizable world in which characters and their status become immediately dear.

The focus throughout is on the relationships and on what the characters need from each other at any given moment. Lloyd partly achieves this by ensuring wherever possible that characters mentioned by others are onstage at the time, even when not speaking in the scene. …

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