Richard III, RSC 2022

Richard III reviews – RSC Stratford 2022 ★★★

Reviews are in Richard III at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford Upon Avon.

Directed by Gregory Doran and featuring Arthur Hughes (Vassa, The Innocents, #Sugarwater, Then Barbara met Alan) as Richard, this is the thrilling climax to Shakespeare’s first great history cycle.

Richard III is a savagely comic analysis of the exercise of power. It reminds us both of the dangers of tyranny and of our duty not to let it go unchecked. 

Running until 8 October 2022 at RSC in Stratford Upon Avon.

Read a round-up of reviews for Richard III – more reviews to follow.

Average Critics Rating
★★★

The Telegraph
★★★★

"This Richard III is historic and stylish – but why trim Shakespeare’s best lines?"

"Given Hughes’s relative inexperience in Shakespeare, it’s a triumph. But while the evening wins the case for him – and, by extension, other disabled performers – to take on the role as their birthright, it doesn’t quite overthrow the ongoing claim of their best able-bodied counterparts. Lived experience is a route in, but so are imagination, empathy and craft. The mighty legacy of Sher and others won’t so easily be consigned to the past."

Dominic Cavendish, The Telegraph
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The Guardian
★★★

"Shakespeare’s supervillain breezes through the bloodbath"

"Arthur Hughes is the scheming sociopath in a production of magisterial stagecraft that builds to a powerful climax"

"Hughes’s Richard is every bit the schemer, dead-eyed and unmoved by the body count he leaves on the way to the throne, but he also has a smarmy mischief about him"

"It gives a strange note to his villainy. He does not always seem vicious enough, even when he is giving orders to kill former allies."

"This production shines in its aesthetics and stagecraft, which has a magisterial splendour."

"It is a shame the visceral power of the play comes so late but these climactic moments bring the full force of the drama’s eeriness and emanate Richard’s fear and desperation."

Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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The Times
★★★

"The RSC’s first disabled king breaks another barrier"

"There are some powerful supporting performances as well, especially from Minnie Gale as a wailing, grief-stricken Queen Margaret, who stalks the stage, silver hair streaming, like one of Macbeth’s witches."

"But does this Richard really seem the epitome of treacherous, conspiratorial evil? Not really, and that leaves a moral void at the centre of the play. "

"Here, at the very centre of power, he doesn’t cast a long enough shadow."

Clive Davis, The Times
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The Stage
★★★★

"Strong and diverse cast"

"Striking performances lend power to this bloody, melodramatic conclusion to the RSC’s civil war play cycle"

"Arthur Hughes plays the titular king with ferocity and sly playfulness"

"Gregory Doran, now artistic director emeritus at the RSC, directs the piece with verve. Bold – though unapologetically unsubtle – choices mark the production."

Dave Fargnoli, The Stage
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The Financial Times
★★★★

"The RSC’s Richard III is a powerful portrait of savagery"

"The production features a magnetic central performance from Arthur Hughes."

Sarah Hemming, The Financial Times
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Daily Mail
★★★

"Psycho super-villain? No, he’s more of a naughty boy"

"Hughes gives it his all. The actor, who has radial dysplasia, which has left him with a short right arm, is determined to prove himself a villain. But his default personality is not so much scheming monster as slightly naughty boy."

Patrick Marmion, Daily Mail
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