Richard III

Date 19th October 2017
Society Compton Players
Venue Compton Village Hall
Type of Production Play
Director Helen Saxton

Report

Author: Chris Horton

 

Richard III by William Shakespeare was chosen by Compton Players to celebrate their Platinum (70th) anniversary and this was an immense challenge.   It tells us how Richard will stop at nothing to secure his place on the throne, the dastardly deeds he stoops to and what he does to achieve it and how it eventually brings about his downfall.    It’s a bold and fierce retelling of the famous story of jealousy, manipulation and deceit.  Set at the height of Agatha Christie’s popularity – coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the group – even though there is no mystery, this interpretation parallels the murder and intrigue of Agatha Christie’s stories.

The hall was laid out in the round as well as using the hall’s stage. The front of house team was welcoming and helpful showing patrons to their seats and ensuring the evening ran smoothly.  The programme was full of information about the play (including a very useful explanatory “family trees” layout showing the houses of Lancaster and York), cast photos and information about other local amateur productions. 

The set was excellent and had been well crafted portraying Richard’s room and various other locations using the floor area. There was with great attention to detail.  A great deal of trouble had gone into ensuring each character was appropriately dressed and made up immaculately.  The costumes were particularly impressive. The lighting was effective and imaginative; the combination of lighting and sound for the “ghostly” and Battle of Bosworth scenes were particularly well executed.

The essential characterisation of each cast member was well developed and each character maintained their persona throughout. Peter Watt as Richard gave a compelling performance and there was fine work from Dave Hawkins as Buckingham.  The ferocious exchange between Liz Saxton (as Queen Margaret) and Mary Warrington (as the Duchess of York) was highly charged and mesmerising.   Thanks to the talented and hard-working team, led by Director, Helen Saxton, the group gave us an intelligent, insightful and enthralling depiction of this famous story and the audience enjoyed an entertaining evening of classic theatre.