Richard III at Shakespeare's Globe. Michelle Terry. Photo by Marc Brenner

Richard III Reviews Round-up – at The Globe starring Michelle Terry

Reviews are coming for Richard III at The Globe theatre starring Michelle Terry as Richard

Shakespeare’s classic history play gets a bold makeover at The Globe in London. Featuring a mostly female cast, this fast-paced show cleverly skewers toxic masculinity.

Directed by Elle While, the cast includes Catrin Aaron, Rosalind Blessed, Hayley Carmichael, Sam Crerar, Isabelle Chiara Dawodu, Katie Erich, Sarah Finigan, Poppy Miller, Marianne Oldham, Holly-Jade Roberts, Helen Schlesinger, Poppy Setrem, Kibong Tanji, Michelle Terry, Em Thane, Felicity Tong, Ayla Wheatley, Tanika Yearwood.

Richard III is designed by E. Mallin Parry, with music by James Maloney. The Associate Director is Indiana Lown-Collins, the Casting Director is Becky Paris, the Fight Director is Rachel Bown-Williams, the Movement Director is Jess Williams, and the Voice & Text Coach is Nia Lynn.

The production has faced controversy. When announced for The Globe in January, there was backlash against Terry for not casting a disabled actor in the title role.

Richard III runs to 3 August 2024 at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre London

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Richard III reviews

The Independent

"Original and necessary"

"Terry takes the starring role in a production directed by Elle While, in which the approach to the text isn’t one of great reverence. References to Richard’s disabilities are gone, as are some of the most famous lines."

"This isn’t subtle satire, Shakespeare’s undying language used to hang the politicians of the present. It’s open mockery. Terry doesn’t question masculine power, she doesn’t even condemn it, she ridicules it."

Tim Bano, The Independent
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The Guardian

"A fast-paced study of toxic masculinity"

"An almost exclusively female cast plays both male and female characters, which casts the play’s sexual politics in a different light – more ironic and emphatic in its violence against women."

"Terry plays a playfully antic sociopath, a younger brother with an enormous, almost mischievous, will to usurp by any means necessary. He is a pure villain – and the consummate actor too in his deceptions. Terry infuses him with a charm built out of a humorously violent masculinity, pumped up and ready for the fight."

"Ultimately, it is a fast-paced, energised and entertaining production, the humour sometimes overplayed and hammy, but nevertheless a hugely compelling picture of corrupted male power."

Arifa Akbar, The Guardian
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The Evening Standard

"Michelle Terry shines but the show is shouty and unfocused"

"Bizarre pacing choices and gabbled lines undermine the production – but the Globe’s artistic director makes for a compelling king"

"This is a thoughtful provocation to the all-male Globe productions of the distant and recent past, and to the implication that Richard’s psychopathy is expressed in his body. Terry, sometimes sporting a sculpted, prosthetic masculine torso, is horrifyingly compelling in the lead.

"Unfortunately, Elle While’s production is shouty and unfocused. It also strains too hard for contemporary relevance, putting misogynistic and autocratic Trumpisms in Richard’s sassy mouth."

Nick Curtis, The Evening Standard
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The Stage

"Indictment of toxic masculinity"

"Michelle Terry heads a female-led ensemble in this intriguingly skewed character study of a vulgar tyrant clawing his way towards power"

"Reframing Shakespeare’s tale of murder and court intrigue as an indictment of toxic masculinity, this bold, uneven version – directed by Elle While and starring Globe artistic director Michelle Terry – takes some big risks."

"While gives the show a breakneck pacing, enlivening the grim content with absurd visual humour and interrupting the action with muscular dance breaks where Richard’s court of boorish louts stamp and thrust. With a cast made up almost entirely of women, all the laddish swaggering and offhand, sexist remarks feel particularly pointed."

"Although While’s strikingly modern style feels chaotic at times, this ambitious production offers an intriguing, under-explored angle on Richard’s familiar story."

Dave Fargnoli, The Stage
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"Michelle Terry is a superb Richard"

"Michelle Terry is a superb Richard, but this production doesn’t feel rounded enough to truly silence all the controversy around it"

"As a Shakespearean actor, Terry really is as good as it gets. Her Richard has villainous blood running through his veins."

"There’s a degree of Alice in Wonderland about it all."

Anya Ryan, TimeOut
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The Observer

"Michelle Terry’s king rises above the disability row"

"I am clear that the stage has been depriving itself of the talent of disabled actors. Yet I am uneasy at the idea of any group of actors having exclusive rights to particular roles, and more convinced that bigger advances are made by routinely challenging the default casting for every character."

"The largely female production (Helen Schlesinger with cockatoo hair and a City suit is a silky Buckingham) emphasises how time and again women, bereaved at Richard’s hands, coerced into being his bedfellow, tell the truth and are not heard."

"Some odd Trump references are imported, unnecessarily but not discordantly. Terry – pumped-up doublet, gold trousers, pale wig, tiny finger gestures – makes the parallels plain: the wheedling command of a crowd, the bare-faced lies, the petulance, the brutal misogyny. Terry’s king is a lethal child. She outshines everyone else in a stimulating, patchy evening. Very Globe. As the rain dripped off the thatch of the roof, the groundlings gathered, hooded like druids in their plastic ponchos."

Susannah Clapp, The Observer
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The Times

"Michelle Terry’s king is a shallow take on toxic men"

"Forget the row over ableism — the Globe theatre’s talented boss is adrift in this limp and obvious staging about a Trumpian tyrant"

"It’s a strategically shallow reading that makes one of Shakespeare’s most fascinating villains into a 2D commentary on a certain kind of male."

"More often, middling speaking and indifferent blocking make the show lollop more than it stings."

Dominic Maxwell, The Times
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Richard III

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📷 Main photo: Richard III at Shakespeare's Globe. Michelle Terry. Photo by Marc Brenner

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