Richard III First Preview

WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel
Broadway Legend
joined:5/26/05
Richard III First Preview
Posted: 10/19/13 at 11:39pm
I'll admit that at intermission tonight I wasn't completely sold on the production, or even Rylance's performance. He must be turning in the funniest interpretation of the role known to man. His opening monologue was so funny I had to double check that I hadn't wandered into Twelfth Night again!

I was a big fan of the Kevin Spacey production at BAM a few years ago. He played the part as a ruthless, conniving dictator who was pure evil. I thought he was terrifying and the plotting was diabolical.

Rylance is so silly and goofy, even when planning the murders of his family members. It's not till the second act that the picture comes into focus and we see where he's going with these choices. His Richard has less in common with Stalin and is more in line with Mad King Ludwig II of Bavaria. His act two is a descent into utter madness and paranoia. When his performance is viewed in its entirety you can see the masterstroke of genius that he has imbued in his work.

Angus Wright was my favorite from the rest of the cast as the Duke of Buckingham, especially when contrasted with his very different Sir Anthony from a few nights before.

Samuel Barnett has a doozy of an exchange with Rylance late in the second act that garnered thunderous exit applause.

SPOILERS*******************************


The fight sequence with Richmond is AWESOME. All the ghosts come out and distract Richard as his guilt overwhelms him. The scene is thrilling and pushes the evening over the top.

END SPOILER*********************************


Despite my initial misgivings about the interpretation, I should have known better and trusted the man knew what he was doing. It turned out to be the case and we were treated to another breathtaking display of showmanship. Bravo!
Marie: Don't be in such a hurry about that pretty little chippy in Frisco. Tony: Eh, she's a no chip!
loliveve
Broadway Star
joined:6/24/12
Richard III First Preview
Posted: 10/19/13 at 11:42pm
I love reading your comments and look forward to seeing this show myself soon! Do you happen to know what the running time was? (I'll be seeing both this and Twelfth Night on the same day so I was just curious)
Michael Bennett
Broadway Legend
joined:3/16/05
Richard III First Preview
Posted: 10/19/13 at 11:51pm
I echo Whizzers' comments. At intermission I wasn't completely sold on this take of the material but by the end was completely won over. What a treat to see, in all its simplicity, these plays staged much as they might have been originally. After having experienced both this and Twelfth Night, I can say with confidence that the real triumph of these stagings is Tim Carroll's imaginative, insightful and very learned direction. I never would have suspected that the second act of this play in particular could be so effective with nothing in the way of special tricks or lighting/ just a group of actors on a bare stage. Magic.

Updated On: 10/19/13 at 11:51 PM
WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel
Broadway Legend
joined:5/26/05
Richard III First Preview
Posted: 10/19/13 at 11:52pm
It was just shy of 3 hours. Hope you enjoy your double header!
Marie: Don't be in such a hurry about that pretty little chippy in Frisco. Tony: Eh, she's a no chip!
pennydreadful
Stand-by
joined:3/27/11
Richard III First Preview
Posted: 10/19/13 at 11:53pm
I thought it was excellent and I'm glad I saw it, but I don't need to see it again - unlike Twelfth Night, which I'm planning to see a third and probably fourth time. Rylance is a great actor, but I preferred Spacey's take on the role. This one drug on a little for me, especially in the first half. Edited to add: These actors are acing the female roles!!

Updated On: 10/19/13 at 11:53 PM
bwayphreak234
Broadway Legend
joined:7/4/10
Richard III First Preview
Posted: 10/19/13 at 11:54pm
I got to hand it to you guys that were able to see two Shakespeare plays the same week. Especially with the original text and stagings! I would be drained!
"There’s nothing quite like the power and the passion of Broadway music. "
pennydreadful
Stand-by
joined:3/27/11
Richard III First Preview
Posted: 10/19/13 at 11:57pm
My week's not over - I'm seeing the all-female Julius Caesar tomorrow night!! Two Twelfth Nights, Richard III, and JC. Rock and roll!
After Eight
Broadway Legend
joined:6/5/09
Richard III First Preview
Posted: 10/20/13 at 12:27am
Some fine acting, some not so fine.

Mark Rylance's buffoonish, self-indulgent performance was a dismal joke.
Ed_Mottershead
Broadway Legend
joined:10/20/05
Richard III First Preview
Posted: 10/20/13 at 12:38am
Did anyone here see Ian McKellens's version at BAM? That was the be-all and end-all production I've EVER seem, but I still want to see Rylance's take on this. Off topic, why hasn't Rylance received a knighthood?
BroadwayEd
jwsel
Featured Actor
joined:8/2/05
Richard III First Preview
Posted: 10/20/13 at 03:22am
Did anyone here see Ian McKellens's version at BAM? That was the be-all and end-all production I've EVER seem, but I still want to see Rylance's take on this. Off topic, why hasn't Rylance received a knighthood?

----------

I saw McKellen's Richard III at the National Theatre in the UK and agree with it being incredible, though my personal favorite production with McKellen was Trevor Nunn's Othello with McKellen as Iago.

As for Rylance, he is listed on Wikipedia as someone who declined a CBE. I don't know if that has ever been reported officially and saw no source for it, but it would be a logical explanation.
Lavieboheme3090
Broadway Legend
joined:10/9/04
Richard III First Preview
Posted: 10/20/13 at 10:27am
"Mark Rylance's buffoonish, self-indulgent performance was a dismal joke."

Can't wait it must be the performance of the season!
After Eight
Broadway Legend
joined:6/5/09
Richard III First Preview
Posted: 10/20/13 at 11:37am
^

For you, no question.
sinister teashop
Understudy
joined:3/5/08
Richard III First Preview
Posted: 10/20/13 at 12:18pm
I loved it. I liked it much better than the Kevin Spacey production. Also agree that Tim Carroll does a great job on direction.
"Riches of the imagination, not the imagination of riches." - Charles Ludlam
Lavieboheme3090
Broadway Legend
joined:10/9/04
Richard III First Preview
Posted: 10/20/13 at 12:26pm
@after8 I know dude. That's why I can't wait.
devonian.t
Broadway Legend
joined:7/26/04
Richard III First Preview
Posted: 10/20/13 at 05:33pm
I saw both productions in London and they persuaded me that Rylance is absolutely the best actor of his generation.

Of course, After Eight could do it all better and needless to say has seen much better, but for the rest of us mere mortals there is a masterclass in Shakespearean acting to be savoured in both these productions.
Borstalboy
Broadway Legend
joined:2/9/04
Richard III First Preview
Posted: 10/20/13 at 05:51pm
After Eight has seen everything.

Except joy.
"It's now rather very common to hear people say 'I'm rather offended by that'. As if that gives them certain rights. It's actually nothing more than a whine. It has no meaning, no purpose. It has no reason to be respected as a phrase. 'I am offended by that'. Well, so f**king what?"--Stephen Fry
Kbradstein
Stand-by
joined:7/6/12
Richard III First Preview
Posted: 10/20/13 at 06:46pm
i was there saturday night, and was simply blown a way. such an elegant and beautiful production, unlike any other I've seen. Rylance is simply a genius. i had never seen the role portrayed as such the way he did, and completely reinvented the part. and the end scene was brilliant, so haunting and satisfying, yet saddening all at the same time. and the way Rylance hopped up and down gleefully at the curtain call made me so giddy!

Cant wait to see Twelfth night now!
E.Davis
Broadway Legend
joined:1/1/08
Richard III First Preview
Posted: 10/20/13 at 09:29pm
I so wish that James Garnon had transferred with the production as his scene as Richard's Mother was right up there with Rylance on par with his performance. You would never in a million years believed that he was the same actor playing Richmond.
"I think lying to children is really important, it sets them off on the right track" -Sherie Rene Scott-
DeNada
Broadway Star
joined:7/7/07
Richard III First Preview
Posted: 10/21/13 at 05:06am
For what it's worth - and it's worth very little - I too think that Rylance's acting can descend/ascend into grotesque levels of schmacting, or at the very least inhabiting a completely different realm from every other actor on the stage.

Sometimes it works - even I could see his excellence in Jerusalem, for instance - but on the admittedly rare occasions I've seen him in Shakespeare I've felt like this.

I'm not being deliberately contrarian - and obviously I can't comment on Twelfth Night and Richard III as I didn't see them in London and will never see them on Broadway - but on this occasion I didn't want people to come away thinking that only After Eight could possibly dislike a Rylance performance :)
frapperia
Leading Actor
joined:6/26/09
Richard III First Preview
Posted: 10/21/13 at 09:38am
James Garnon is amazing (although he took it too far as a spitting Caliban earlier this summer - my friend got full on gobbed on, and for me that goes way over the line). But he is currently in Much Ado with James Earl Jones and Vanessa Redgrave, and must have locked himself into that long before. I can't imagine he would have missed his Broadway debut otherwise.

I have to agree with DeNada on Rylance. I really enjoyed him in Jerusalem but have not enjoyed him at all in anything else since. His performances in Twelfth Night and Richard III seem at odds with what everyone else is doing. He gets away with it in Richard III but in Twelfth Night, when I saw it at least, it was so kabuki it just didn't fit with everything else. Whereas someone like Sam Barnett can emotionally kill it as Elizabeth, where you really think of him as a woman, I never felt for one second that Rylance was accessing anything emotional, and that he was just playing dress-up. I know it's a comedy, but Olivia can be so much more than the silly flippant ridiculousness he gave her.

Just be grateful Johnny Flynn didn't transfer. Super wooden and far too manly in the face for Viola. His idea of playing a woman is to do a high-pitched squeaky voice throughout. Totally grating. Thank god for Sam Barnett.
PalJoey
Broadway Legend
joined:3/11/04
Richard III First Preview
Posted: 10/21/13 at 10:05am
I cannot wait to see Sam Barnett.
yr pal,
joey




Blocked so far: suestorm, Master Bates
E.Davis
Broadway Legend
joined:1/1/08
Richard III First Preview
Posted: 10/21/13 at 07:18pm
I thought that Johnny Flynn was the worst part of the production on The West End.
"I think lying to children is really important, it sets them off on the right track" -Sherie Rene Scott-
pennydreadful
Stand-by
joined:3/27/11
Richard III First Preview
Posted: 10/21/13 at 08:27pm
Sam Barnett kills it!! And Joseph Timms is a great Lady Anne.
Tom-497
Stand-by
joined:12/18/05
Richard III First Preview
Posted: 10/27/13 at 11:27am
I thought the first act (of two in the present production) was a bit uneven. I liked Rylance but occasionally the fake naivete of his Richard reminded me a bit too much of Pee Wee Herman.

However, the second act was great, as multiple murders and the ongoing attempt to keep up a false front start to prove too much for the character.

I also appreciated the generally strong acting of the entire ensemble -- I've seen far too much Shakespeare where at least a few members of the cast fall short of mere competence. That wasn't the case here.

Overall, it was an excellent production, and the audience response was very enthusiastic (including exit applause on a few occasions for a few different actors).
jeffmiele
Broadway Star
joined:11/6/07
Richard III First Preview
Posted: 10/28/13 at 11:31am
I finally bought my ticket for this for Row D, seat 7, in the balcony. Does anyone who has sat up there know if I am going to have one of those poles in my way? Thanks
Kad
Broadway Legend
joined:11/5/05
Richard III First Preview
Posted: 11/3/13 at 08:51am
I saw the matinee yesterday (boyfriend picked up rush tickets- we were in one of the boxes. For those wondering, it was the left rear- they were sold as partial view, but since we were the back 2 seats, it wasn't that partial. We missed entrances from the SL door, and that's all. Since everything is placed front and center, this isn't an issue).

i found this, overall, the weaker of the two plays. Whereas I adored Twelfth Night and all in it, i found Richard III more uneven and less gratifying. Mark Rylance, who delivered what has become of my favorite performances ever as Olivia, is a very *funny* Richard, but ultimately it's a performance that, for me, can easily be pointed to by detractors. I felt that that the constant humor and overall festive atmosphere undercut the play terribly, and that it did lack a certain "tragic" feeling. I also felt that the ensemble, who each shined so wonderfully in Twelfth Night, all felt secondary to Rylance- it also does not help that their characters are not as individualized as they are in Twelfth Night. For me, Samuel Barnett alone stood out. The rest were overwhelmed by Rylance.

This is not to say I did not enjoy the production. But it was a letdown following the nigh-perfect other production it's coupled with.

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