Theatre Review: Richard III at Maynardville

For years, Maynardville has been synonymous for its’ compelling Shakespeare play in the open air context. Many of us remember the plays from school outings with your English class and giggling at the sexual innuendos that your teacher sure didn’t explain to you.

But there is something very special about revisiting Maynardville’s Shakespeare experience as an adult, without the stresses of that paper you have to write about Hamlet’s role as a protagonist, you can simply enjoy the show, and maybe google the plot during the interval like the fellows that were sitting next to me.

Richard III is one of William Shakespeare’s historical plays (and of course, very much Tudor propaganda) about the very nefarious Richard, Duke of Gloucester,  who is determined to inherit the crown from his brother, King Edward IV, no matter who he has to betray, murder or manipulate in order to do so.

The Maynardville cast is led by Alan Committie as the title character, and honestly his performance was so good that I was confused at the end of the play when he walked onto stage without the character’s signature limp. He was so charming in the villainous role and one can clearly see from how Game of Thrones is inspired by the War of Roses because that some Lannister plotting in here.  The supporting cast also do an excellent job in their roles, and I love a good diverse Shakespeare cast. Also worth noting, is Sanda Shandu as Richard’s rival, Richmond who is equally compelling and charismatic.

The play is excellently directed Geoffrey Hyland, who also did the set design, and the play seems almost intimate, you feel like apart of the drama. And even you don’t understand the plot or the historical context, the mystical direction and the charismatic cast will have you enthralled from beginning to end.

Richard III is currently on at Maynardville Open Air Theatre until 9 March 2019. Buy Tickets HERE

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