The Travesty of Richard III


Brighton Fringe

28th May – 27th June, 2021


I’m sure if Shakespeare were here he would congratulate this play/movie made for the Brighton Fringe 2021. It worked as well as any adaptation since the time of the bard and I was glad when the credits included the playwrights name. The dynamic duo of Ian Renshaw and Helen Manners created every facet of the show from multiple characters to a great many costume designs.

It all came together as ‘The Travesty of Richard 111’ unravelled its unscrupulous plot to kill for a place on the English throne. In a performance to envy the war of the roses in the 15th Century was oddly represented in this play as an age of war made hilarious from strikingly well conducted acting.

The comedy aspect as it was written so long ago had the laughter was coaxed out of us, merging us with the modern world and the life of the 15th century. And so with only a cast of two; the scripts unfolding majesty which was about to unveil an insane plot for the throne through the devious developments of the Duke of Gloucester’s plan for King Edward’s demise. Any other obstacle to Richard claiming the throne of England was to be crushed with inane pleasure from Richard III.

He (Richard, Duke of Gloucester, who was one of a long list of characters, played by Ian Renshaw) had a compatriot in Elizabeth 1st (played by Helen) who strongly desired for the Duke to become King, not least because he tricked her into it. It was his most flattering charm and words that had her in the throes of his arms.

The exclamation brought about by the side of this play was in its element as an event made for the screen which gave the actors anther language to play with.

It was in good conscience a story of the screen with scenes of unearthly colours and make up, where Richard always looked a little grey but certainly no less charming. It created modes to revel in the characters in a modern and attention grabbing effects delivering the jokes of the century.

In its entirety the theatrical nuances seemed ahead of its time, dreaming of a perfect play made possible by technology. But no less an enthusiastic appraisement of Shakespeare’s work, a lyrical master stroke to stir our senses.

Without the atmosphere of live theatre, an audience, they clasped the chance to free up the medium and focus on a much wider aspect to come from. The Duke’s full face seemed to fall from grace. As happened when Richmond who had returned from campaigning to take the crown slayed Richard in battle

I say this in all seriousness but my funny bone was hyper active and I felt a natural high with my guilty laughs for what was a catastrophic passage of time. Richard’s aura and his black bob haircut, was thrown in with certain confusion for us, did we support his aims because he made us laugh? Whose side were we really on? Entwining us to all the characters was a revelry and interesting interaction performed by Ian and Helen both shown to bring with every blow, a transformational theatrical spirit. It was a tragedy of epic proportions that had the tempo to line the historic events.

Daniel Donnelly


Posted on July 2, 2021, in 2021. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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