by Ed Farolan

William Shakespeare's Richard III

Under the tent at Vanier Park  until September 25th

Charming Richard III doesn't show evil at all...Perhaps  it's that personal charm of Gaze that gives a lighthearted touch to this production which otherwise would have been a long, boring 3-hour show.  But Christopher Gaze rises to the occasion with his portrayal of Richard III with his clear diction, volume, clarity, pace and charming persona.

The other actors lent a hand with their excellent portrayals.  Spontaneous ovation went again to Patricia Idlette (I remember the same spontaneous ovation in Winter's Tale last year).  All that passion and energy only a Patricia Idlette could exude! The only negative comment I have is she was taking too many breaths in-between lines.  Perhaps, hasten the pace to avoid overbreathing?

I was also enchanted by David Marr's portrayal of the Duke of Buckingham, and there was something about his performance that reminded me of Laurence Olivier.

What I enjoyed also were the short exchanges between Jan Wood (Queen Elizabeth) and Gaze in the Second Act when he was trying to convince her to marry off her daughter, the young Elizabeth, to him.  The timing was perfect; the exchanges, exquisite.

The drab costumes designed by Mara Gottler were befitting of this tragedy, with black as the motif, and the red kingly robe for blood when Richard III ascends the throne. The sword fight between Richard III and Richmond at the end of the play , however, looked more like a ballet choreography than a real "fight to the finish", but I'm sure Fight Director Nicholas Harrison will make it fiercer as the summer rolls along. The original music and sound effects by George Ryan were in tune with this tragedy.

Director Scott Wentworth who spent eight seasons as an actor at the Stratford Festival in Ontario and Director of  many Shakesperean productions did Shakespeare 's Richard III justice in this 9th season of Bard on the Beach with his directorial expertise.


Copyright 1998 Ed Farolan