Monday, May 22, 2006

Go and see Richard III

You should go and see Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival's production of Richard III this weekend. It is a huge amount of fun. Yes, it is a history play, but its spirit hews closer to Macbeth than to, say, Henry V. There are curses, bizarre seductions, numerous executions, a really sweet battle scene in which heavy instruments are banged loudly into dented metal shields, and two child characters are put to death (offstage, alas). The company stages it in nifty period outfits so you don't have to worry about what kind of modern political spin they're trying to put on it. (Plus you can enjoy the Spotlight of Death special effect, which is used to get around all of the interesting deaths being offstage. The character being beheaded or whatever just goes and stands underneath it while appropriate sound effects play. Clarence even gets a gurgling malmsey sound!) It's a classic story of a hunchbacked villain that you can all hiss at and root against. It's like seeing a play about Count Olaf. And it's certainly much more fun than going to see The Da Vinci Code and watching Tom Hanks' brow furrow as he pretends to sort out anagrams.

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