Richard, My Richard Review

Centre- Jennifer Matter, Matt Cocannon. Surrounded the cast of Richard, My Richard, March 2024. Shakespeare North Playhouse. Credit Patch Dolan

Tonight I had the privilege of watching Richard, My Richard at the Shakespeare North Playhouse sat next to the legendary Philippa Gregory who wrote it. To be honest that really was the icing on the cake, to a truly fantastic evening.

The play, Gregory’s first foray into script writing is absolutely superb, funnier than I expected with an incredible cast and I would highly recommend you go and see it.

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I’ve read so many of Philippa Gregory’s books over the years including The Other Boleyn Girl & The White Queen but also The Kingmakers Daughter about Anne Neville (Richard the Third’s wife) a key character in tonight’s play.

Richard, My Richard is a retelling of the story we think we know about Richard the Third and those people who shaped him, including the women in his life. Putting them front and centre rather than marginalising them like history sometimes (OK always) suggests we should do.

Jennifer Matter, Mary Savage
Credit: Patch Dolan

Richard the Third (as the character of ‘History’ in the play tells us) is usually depicted as a villain, who murdered anyone who stood in his way including his young nephews. Gregory’s version portrays a more nuanced King and questions whether everything we’ve been led to believe before was true. She certainly doesn’t try to present us with a saintly King that forgets history completely, Richard the Third was a King in Medieval times after all, but it does question whether all the decisions made at the time were his, his alone, or perhaps not even his at all.

The decision to portray the women in the play as strong, fiery and opinionated, was refreshing to see. That they weren’t always heard, or that their points were dismissed as frivolous and fanciful made it all the more realistic and as relevant today as it was then.

There has been some criticism I’ve read today about the play not always knowing what it is. There was comedy, tragedy and joy, and sometimes all at the same time, but isn’t that what we’re used to when watching Shakespeare, can’t we see all of this at once.

The use of the small stage at Shakespeare North was exceptional, using lighting rather than props to change the mood, and the beauty of this small theatre working so closely with the production team, meant that the play was developed perfectly for the space.

A brilliant, small cast, playing multiple roles, kept the audience on their toes at times, but each member of the cast performed their part with aplomb and I truly hope this production goes onto to bigger and better things so that more of you can see it.

The play is on at Shakespeare North until 30 March, and after that Bury St Edmunds. Book some tickets. You really won’t regret it!

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Karen Beddow founded Mini Travellers in 2014 while doing what she loves most...going on holiday!

Mini Travellers is for parents looking for holiday ideas, destination reviews, days out and things to do with the kids. We also have family travel tips, activity ideas and all other things family holiday related. Take a look at some of our latest reviews for holidays and day trips in the UK.

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