Old Globe’s Richard II a Pleasurable Night Outby Brie Stimson July 7, 2017
“King Richard II” at the Old Globe’s outdoor theater on a warm summer evening is something to experience.
The theater, known for celebrating the bard, has put forth, as the first of its summer series, a lesser known (compared to “Hamlet” or “Romeo and Juliet”) yet completely engrossing tale of political power and unchecked arrogance gone awry in the do or die days of knights, kings and courtiers.
Those who love Shakespeare, British history, or just an evening out at the theater will thoroughly enjoy the two-and-a-half hour wind through 14th century England. Richard is arrogant, flawed and vulnerable, but Shakespeare portrays him in a deeply sympathetic way – maybe because his patroness Queen Elizabeth I saw the shadow of herself in the medieval ruler.
The Globe’s version is well choreographed, aptly cast with well known faces, (Robert Sean Leonard who acted alongside Hugh Laurie for eight seasons in “House” plays the title role, Patrick Kerr of “Frasier” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” plays the Duke of York and Tory Kittles of “Colony,” “True Detective” and “Sons of Anarchy” plays Henry Bolingbroke.) and even the set itself keeps the audience looking in each direction (even up) to find the actors.
For those who haven’t seen or read Shakespeare since ninth grade English class, the meaning comes across through the action, and even if you don’t understand every word no one will be lost in the absorbing spectacle.
For the money, an evening out under the stars (both in the sky and on stage) with vibrant costumes, judicious use of iambic pentameter, plenty of sword fights and even a bawdy joke or two, “King Richard II” is worth it. (And it’s superior to a night out at Buena Park’s Medieval Times both in traffic and authenticity.)