08 February 2022 383 Views

RICHARD III is meant to be a BADDIE. Just accept it!

by James Murphy

News is in this week that the first disabled actor is set to play Shakespeare’s RICHARD THE THIRD. 

 

Wonderful! Inclusive! Hooray! That said:

  • Richard does not relish his disability. He uses it, initially, as a curse and a cover. Irony is that it thereby helps him blend in!
  • So there is, prima facie, a minor risk (yes, minor) that this well intentioned bit of casting ironically serves rather than combats prejudice?

 

    • Sooner a disabled actor than one playing Richard in his underpants (not naming names but all  forgiven, Branagh: BELFAST, THOR and JACK RYAN redeem your Richard 3rd 😉).
    • Actors: act! They need not exhibit the traits they portray, be those physical or otherwise.
    • Disability is a spectrum. How do we KNOW this is the first disabled actor to take this part?
    • Many an actor has struggled with the likes of dyspraxia (an invisible but no less challenging a disability than visible counterparts).

  • Richard is a PANTO VILLAIN. PURE EEEEVVVVILLL. The hump is the equivalent of a moustache to twirl. Panto with better dialogue. But run with that, enjoy it and lap it up. There need not be any message beyond that.
  • Which is why: OLIVIER remains the best, definitive, most fun iteration of the character. Take your Spaceys, Shers, McKellens, Pacinos et al. Though I would love to see a Downey take on the play, maybe directed by Mel Gibson (they were set to do Hamlet a few years back). And yes, I would LOVE to play Richard, myself! 🙂

I wish director, Gregory Doran, every success with the production. Even if I did find his version of Love’s Labour’s Lost, a tad, dull (but hey: that’s on the RSC, jointly: no offence, I love you too!). 



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