Review: The Tragedie of Richard II at The Great Barn in Titchfield

Poet and author Benjamin Zephaniah

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While he no doubt still bores some students to death, it cannot be denied that Shakespeare is considered to be the world’s greatest playwright.

And that can be attributed to the man’s gift with his native tongue.

One of the first things I learnt at drama school was to let Shakespeare do the work. Learn it, speak it and marvel as the words start to live on their own.

This is a lesson that the cast of Titchfield Festival Theatre’s The Tragedie of King Richard II should learn. Sadly there is a good deal of Acting (with a capital ‘A’) going on, overlaying Shakespeare’s words with unnecessary gesture, movement (still feet, people!), inflection and emotion. With Shakespeare, less is most definitely more.

As Richard, Nathan Webb certainly looks the part. His delivery is sound but following his Richard’s emotional thread is not always easy. Malcolm Bain as York needs to trust Shakespeare more and give less.

And many of this cast belong to the Shouting Shakespeare club.

Oddly it’s the less-experienced youngsters in the cast who seem to have the freshest delivery, if a little unpolished; Dan Cox and Saffron Giblett, take a bow.