Joe Hill-Gibbins’ of The Tragedy of King Richard the Second is inherently divisive, and the critics have obliged but, only three days into the year, it is very hard to imagine a more exciting or compelling Shakespeare coming along in 2019.
Simon Russell Beale and Leo Bill shine in Joe Hill-Gibbins’ perfectly reimagined The Tragedy of King Richard the Second at the Almeida Theatre.
Borrowing a technique from American long-form TV drama, The Tragedy of King Richard The Second begins in medias res. The wonderful Simon Russell Beale steps forward, ashen-faced, to deliver the “I have been studying how I may compare/This prison where I live unto the world” speech from Act 5.
The Tragedy of King Richard The Second is not stately, sacred, shockingly regicidal Shakespeareana. This is a brawl, a nasty coup against a hopeless king, a howl of rage at what fools, in power politics, these mortals be.
Currently my favourite partnership of Simon Russell Beale and Shakespeare is at work in The Tragedy of King Richard the Second (or Richard II if you prefer, and as the person typing this I very much do) at the Almeida.
Artistic director Rupert Goold has announced the Almeida Theatre’s new season.