(Ben Brantley’s article appeared 8/23 in The New York Times.)
Take a good look at the recumbent, inanimate figure that occupies center stage at the beginning of Shakespeare & Company’s rousing production of “Richard III.” That’s the last time you’ll see it so motionless or so horizontal. The body is that of the title character of Shakespeare’s grisliest history play. And as portrayed by John Douglas Thompson, this monarch-in-the-making quickly establishes himself as a man who is almost never still and who takes absolutely nothing lying down.
To call Mr. Thompson’s superkinetic Richard III a force of nature doesn’t quite get it. He suggests instead a force of history, a juggernaut that keeps charging relentlessly forward, sweeping up and mowing down whatever’s in its path. The usual perplexing concerns of motive and Freudian pathology that attend portrayals of Shakespeare’s crookback are not at issue in this production, conceived and adapted by Tony Simotes and directed by Jonathan Croy.
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