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Review: Richard III at Newcastle People’s Theatre

An Amazing Study Of The

The Downward Spiral

Richard III
by William Shakespeare
Newcastle People’s Theatre
Until Saturday 12th March 2016

A week before members of the People’s join the Royal Shakespeare Company in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, at the Northern Stage, Shakespeare is definitely the flavour of the month. Whilst the People’s Theatre has been creating dramas for over 100 years, this is only the second time that they have produced Richard III. This production feels very fresh and captivating.

Photo: Paula Smart
Central to the plot is Richard of Gloucester. Richard is a devious man, who is very cunning, and uses his manipulative skills to get others to do his evil bidding. In order to become the King of England he must arrange a number of killings. He uses a number of henchmen who wish to be associated with the potentially powerful Richard. In turn they hope that they will be rewarded through the resultant power that a monarch has.  Richard always has his own agenda.

Photo: Paula Smart
William Shakespeare’s play has a lot of dialogue but in this production it does not become over bearing. In fact directors Brian Green and Sarah Davison have succeeded in creating a very accessible show.

Photo: Paula Smart
Leah Page’s set design looks modern and simple. It enables the action to flow and to allow Richard to hang around in the shadows, especially in the first half. The use of the music of Nine Inch Nails briefly between some scenes added to the pulse of the production.

The large cast, dressed in modern day clothing, are successful in delivering the necessary punch to the performance.

Photo: Paula Smart
Colin Jeffrey delivers a master class as Richard. He owns the role and draws the audience in, not only with Shakespeare’s script but with the non-verbal signals. He frequently takes the audience to one side and gives an insight of the power hungry central character.

Surrounding him is a very strong ensemble cast including Kevin Gibson and Jake Wilson Craw as his allies the Duke of Buckingham and Sir William Catesby respectfully.  Opposing his actions include Geffen Yoeli-Rimmer as the wife of one of Richard’s early victims, Anne Cater as Queen Margaret and Maggie Childs as the wife of Edward IV. Rachel Scott, as Prince Edward, and Rachel Dixon, as the Duke of York, had a wonderful vulnerability onstage.

Photo: Paula Smart
This particular production is very engaging with the audience. It uses effective set design and a very strong cast to produce a highly entertaining evening that would give the professional rivals a good run for their money.  It was pleasing to see a number of young members of the audience on the opening night as this will make a great introduction to Shakespeare. Thoroughly recommended.

This review was written by Stephen Oliver for Jowheretogo PR ( Follow Jo on twitter @jowheretogo, Stephen @panic_c_button or like Jowheretogo on Facebook

Photo: Paula Smart
Richard III comes to The People’s Theatre from Tuesday 8th to Saturday 12th March 2016. Tickets are £13.50 (Concessions £11)
Box Office: 0191 265 5020 or

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