(Rated 5/5 )
And so yes – believe it or not but given how I am with seeing plays etc at least twice I’m sure you can believe it – I went again and for the final night to see R2-DT and cast perform their last. Do I detect an influence of Shakespeare’s lyricism upon me?! ;) Well be it so as the lyricism of the text was far more evident than the first time I heard it in this production J And how did they perform? Well this time they merited that elusive extra point to make it the perfect – though I have given even higher scores! – 5 out of 5! Full energy was imparted by all making it engaging in the extreme. It’s fascinating though as I think my not receiving it so well last time is actually as much to do with me as them. I don’t think I judged fairly being put off by the brilliance of previous R2s and somehow unwilling to like it as much or more. Plus my internal Shakespeare-translator wasn’t functioning properly perhaps – I did struggle to understand it, even though I had of course seen those other versions. Well whatever it was – improved delivery or improved reception – I was fully attentive and engaged the whole way through and felt I understood everything. I do still stand by what I said before – all productions I have seen are excellent and offering different things and/but if I was pressed to put the R2s in order DT would come an extremely close second to Ben, but really I think they’re equally as ‘good’ whatever that means ;) I do think DT at his best almost can’t fail to win the hardest of hearts or impress almost anyone. It almost doesn’t matter what part he is playing he will give a performance so much full of life it’s not performing – he is being in front of us even if veiled by whatever mask needs wearing as his character. I didn’t forget it was DT this time but fully believed this was Richard II without any silliness about an accent putting me off ;) And this time ‘This Sceptered Isle’ gave me goosebumps – even though it wasn’t at all cold upstairs in the ‘Gods’ – so beautiful!! And I was really struck too by what a truly great actor Oliver Ford-Davies is! The poor Duke of York really does have such a struggle through the whole thing – seeing full well what a mess is being created and how Richard and his own son have done wrong and yet what should be done legally and loyally?! What is right?! I found Bolingbroke improved on me too. And everyone else on fire also – the crème de la crème of performance!
It seemed the rest of the audience also received this play as it is meant to be received – all reactions appropriate to the moments that triggered them – be they of comedy or tragedy. It seems everyone was equally in it as it should be.
And when the performers finally reached the end of the play and DT lead the curtain calls it felt as though we were all really in it together too actors and audience – so much so the audience wouldn’t let the actors go. The last time I saw this there were just two curtain calls – this time we carried on applauding after they’d left the second and were rewarded by DT coming back on and gesturing for the other actors to join him once more. And still we wouldn’t stop. So they applauded us with absolutely massive smiles on their faces. They then stopped, and we still did not, though DT attempted to stop us with a gesture of his hands to desist. Finally, when that was to no avail, out came that wittily delivered yet firm instruction in his own tongue ‘Go home!’ and we obeyed J Thou art adorable, Mr DT!
Barbican – still nice theatre but upstairs not too cold and actor’s faces discernible even without opera glasses but even better with J !!!