I LOVED Jerusalem with Mark Rylance. Since then he has been on the lips of every theatre hussy in Soho. And on mine. So I ran to the Apollo to see Richard III.
And so, the sitting in crap seats begins… This one was really horrendous. I’m talking so far back you need binoculars or better still, a telescope. A lovely broken seat and a pillar in my face.
The problem with a seat like this is for the first half an hour you are guaranteed to be thinking – why on EARTH am I not at home watching television? Where I can actually see the faces of the chosen programme, drink wine and eat a curry followed by a tub of ice cream (and not a small over priced tub, but a giant one)
Then there is the added problem of watching Shakespeare. For the first half an hour I always think… Who the hell am I kidding? What sex are they? and What are they on about?
So all in all it was a rubbish half hour. However, soon the pure genius of Shakespeare comes through and the hook slowly works its way into your neck. Before long I was not so worried that I had wire sticking into my arse and an echoing stomach, I befriended the pillar (well clutched it) and got stuck in. Because boy, does that bloke write a good play.
The production, however, was slightly disappointing. Yes – Mark Rylance was AMAZING. At first his performance was disconcerting – he was not an evil Richard III, but childlike in his wickedness. I soon realised this was a completely brilliant take on him, and Rylance shone like an evil, but just polished shoe throughout.
BUT he was surrounded by very stiff Shakespearean characters. I know they had planned to do a Shakespearean production, bringing it straight from the Globe and ending it with a jig. The dude from The Vicar of Dibley was lurking about, which got me excited – momentarily. But other than that I didn’t actually notice anyone but Rylance. And that shouldn’t happen. Yes – he is very, very good but expecting one person to really bring Shakespeare to life SOLO is a bit much.
The set was also a bit disappointing. It was very plain and there was too much slamming of the big wooden doors. I’m sure they could have been more creative. Then again, there was probably shit loads going on, I just couldn’t see it from my seat.