Review: Richard II, Shakespeare’s Globe

“What must the king do now”

A late trip to the Globe to catch Richard II (for which I had a ticket months ago but was waylaid by an exciting game of tennis) at its final Friday matinee. It’s a little funny how this theatre programmes its runs well into Autumn, especially with the vicariousness of British weather, as there was a decided chill in the air even in the afternoon so heaven knows how it feels in the evening. It might be fine for a rip-roaring delight like Nell Gwynn but for the more measured qualities of Richard II, it’s a bit more of a challenge.

Simon Godwin’s production has had quite strong notices and is blessed with the fine Charles Edwards in the title role, but something about it never quite gripped me and so I was a tad more ambivalent than amazed. It’s a singular interpretation of the role, flippant and fabulous to the gold-plated extreme but Edwards’ performance style is so far removed from the rest of the company that it almost feels as if it belongs in another play, the emotional complexity (from everyone really) that marks this venue’s best productions doesn’t quite feel present. 

There’s lots that good – David Sturzaker’s stridently martial Bolingbroke, William Gaunt’s moving John of Gaunt, Anneika Rose’s forceful queen Isabel and particularly the father/son duo of William Chubb and Graham Butler’s York and Aumerle. But whether it was the cold, or my mindset that afternoon, or the production itself, it’s just wasn’t one to remember for me. 

Running time: 2 hours 40 minutes (with interval)
Photo: Johan Persson

Booking until 18th October

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *