Nottingham Playhouse: Richard III

In the first production of Richard III since his bones were found in a car park in Leicester last year, The Playhouse brings him back to life with a bang.


It is a rare period of peace just after the gruesome War of the Roses. But vile Richard is not happy with brother Edward being in charge so he spends the rest of the play conspiring to secure his place on the throne and pretty much killing everyone who gets in his way.

The set designer, Simon Higlett, has created a beautifully imposing set that matches the dark atmosphere of the play entirely.

Ian Bartholomew is just brilliant

Ian Bartholomew is just brilliant

But it is Ian Bartholemew who totally captures the audience in his brilliant portrayal of Richard. Complete with a now historically proven hunchback and an eerily white face, he manages to not only manipulate the characters on stage but wins the audience over with his hilarious asides.

Bartholomew completely nails the craziness of this villainous king with his frightening snarls and prowling of the stage.

Natalie Burt as Anne

Natalie Burt as Anne

Shakespeare’s women in this play are very strong characters and the women do play their parts well. However when all three, Lady Anne, Queen Elizabeth and The Duchess of York, were on together, their wailing did become ear-ache worthy quite fast.

Siobhan McCarthy as Queen Elizabeth

Siobhan McCarthy as Queen Elizabeth

A special mention has to go to Charles Daish (Clarence) who, having fallen in a dress rehearsal, successfully incorporates an NHS issue crutch into his performance.

Charles Daish: now with a crutch

Charles Daish: now with a crutch

There was no way that you could fall asleep in this production of Shakespeare, simply because the company wouldn’t let you. In one scene, Richard was in the dress circle addressing the rest of the cast who were sitting with the audience, cheering and shouting. Like a vile dictator, this corrupt leader had everyone under his spell.

This was Shakespeare done well. It was anything but boring, it didn’t go on for hours (despite being one of the longest ones) and it was easy enough to follow – mainly due to Bartholomew being so engaging to watch.

Richard III is on until 16th November, tickets for students are £12, book here