“Now is the winter of our discontent, made glorious summer by this son of York”
There are some things, some lines, some moments that are so imbedded in the psyche of the populous that it is bizarre to hear them in their own context. Amongst them I would include the bit in Come On Eileen where it breaks down and then ups the tempo until you’re swinging a doddering old tart around at a wedding with a tie pulled tight across your brow with Rambo affection, or the bit in EastEnders where Kat Slater told Zoe that she was actually her mum. Also, the opening line of Shakespeare’s Richard III.
This week I was fortunate enough to go and see the play starring dragon-bothering, stapler-jellying, Holmes-fondling mod of the people Martin Freeman in the titular role and I was not disappointed. There are some people that you assume, even though you only get a sense of them via the media, that would actually be quite nice in person, amongst them I would include The Queen, Dave Grohl and Martin Freeman. What’s so capturing about his performance in Richard III is that he’s a bit of a maniacal bastard. Even when he was marrying his niece and having his brother’s slain in the name of power I thought oh, but look at his lovely face. He somehow manages to cross that boundary where you wonder if he’s actually going to be okay when he takes off his prosthetic hump and goes back to staring lovingly at dwarves or Benedict Cumberbatch.
The production was absolutely incredible. Having been fortunate enough to see the Trafalgar Transformed production of Macbeth (starring bullet-bending, University-challenging, mind-poker James McAvoy and his dreamy blue eyes) last year, I was all for a bit more of the Great Bard, especially when presented with such panache. I’ve come to realise that Shakespeare’s strength is in tragedy in the same way Mike Leigh is in a kitchen-sink kind of a way. The more death packed into a two and a half hour word-fest, the better in my opinion, which is what made the fish tank drowning, the telephone cord strangulation and the gunned down whilst looking everywhere for a bloody horse so fantastically engaging. The rest of the cast were superb, special nod to Tyrrell and Catesby for hamming it up while looking like a rasta-pimp and Kev from Derek between them.
Shakespeare though man, you can’t really knock it. He knew how to spin a yarn.