A review of Richard II at The Donmar Warehouse starring Eddie Redmayne, Andrew Buchan and Michael Hadley
Last night I was lucky to attend one of the finest productions of a Shakespeare play that I’ve seen in a long while.
Eddie Redmayne as Richard II at The Donmar Warehouse
Richard II, which runs until 4th February, marks Michael Grandage’s final production at The Donmar Warehouse. His 9-year stint as artistic director at the theatre has been remarkably successful and highlights have included Frost/Nixon, Merrily We Roll Along and The Chalk Garden.
The undoubted star of this production has to be the Olivier and Tony award-winning actor Eddie Redmayne. This Old Etonian is best known for having appeared in Stephen Poliakoff’s Glorious 39 (2009) and Peter Morgan’s The Other Boleyn Girl (2008) but is also a successful model who has just completed an advertising campaign for Burberry’s spring/summer 2012 collection with my friend Charles Delevingne’s daughter, Cara.
Eddie Redmayne with Cara Delevingne in Burberry's spring/summer 2012 campaign advertising
Described as “established” on the theatre circuit and tipped to be “one of British cinema’s most distinctive faces,” Redmayne amazingly even impressed Charles Spencer of the Daily Telegraph – a man who is best known as Britain’s most notoriously pugnacious critic. Of Redmayne’s performance in the role of Richard II, a man born to rule but incapable of doing so, Spencer states:
“Eddie Redmayne confirms his status as one of the most exciting young actors in Britain today with his often mesmerising performance as Richard II. He is by turn grandiose, camp, maudlin and self-dramatising, and sometimes all of these things at once.”
Andrew Buchan as Henry of Bolingbroke, later to be Henry IV, King of England and Lord of Ireland
Andrew Buchan, whose fiancée Amy Nuttall stars in Downton Abbey as Ethel, as Richard II’s rival Bolingbroke is devious and dark. Assured and assertive, Buchan plays the role of the future Henry IV with gusto and the scene where he encounters Richard II’s coffin is especially well orchestrated.
Michael Hadley as John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster
Michael Hadley as John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster, is intense and brooding. He plays the role of this raging influencer brilliantly and his “this sceptred isle” speech is especially noteworthy.
The set of the play is equally impressive: with incense wafting throughout and a monastic stage complete with balcony, Grandage cleverly brings the audience deep into the action. With our proximity to the destructive viciousness of the characters, we find ourselves as much accused as the sycophants turned turncoats that are played by Harry Attwell, Daniel Flynn, Daniel Easton, Michael Marcus, Stefano Braschi and Jospeh Timms.
As Shakespeare himself wrote: “The ripest fruit first falls.” Don’t miss this chance to say adieu to Michael Grandage.
Richard II by William Shakespeare plays at The Donmar Warehouse until 4th February 2012. Tickets range from £10 to £32.50 per person.
For more information on the production or to book tickets call +44 (0) 844 871 7624 or go to: http://www.donmarwarehouse.com/pl133.html
For more information on Michael Grandage go to: http://www.michaelgrandage.com