Not all roses for RSC's good-looking Richard

By IH 10/05 Updated: 10/05 14:07

Buy photos » Two Roses For Richard - Claudio Baltar and Fabio Ferreira. (s)

Two Roses For Richard III

RSC Courtyard Theatre

Stratford

IT'S all about the look with Companhia Bufomecanica. The Brazilian company have built their reputation on visually impressive productions, and Two Roses For Richard III, part of the World Shakespeare Festival, is no exception.

Nothing if not ambitious, it takes a good ten minutes before the famous opening 'Now is the winter of our discontent' is even uttered. During that time a boar-headed Richard stalks the stage armed with a rifle, Henry VI falls from the rafters, and all the cast strip naked, fully in some cases, as good as in others. Safe to say this is not your average crookback production.

Visually it certainly is impressive and certainly inventive. Aside from the aerial acrobatics, at times it's like watching Dr Who aliens putting on a production of Alice In Wonderland.

Story-wise however it is a bit of a muddle. There does appear a natural Shakespearean rhythm to the Portuguese the production is delivered in, but heaven help anyone unfamiliar with the play who attempts to read the surtitles and also watch the on stage action. Fewer words would have helped - at least for mostly non-Portuguese speaking audiences.

Anyone who gets bored, which is unlikely, can always keep themselves amused by counting how many Richards are on stage at any one time. I think I made it five at one stage as the company present Dicky's many sides, from soldier to seducer.

For tickets and further details visit www.worldshakespearefestival.org.uk or call the box office on 0844 800 1110.

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