Oh man, to that lovely anon who sent me the Richard III ask this afternoon… I promise I will reply tomorrow. I’m so tired now that if I reply I will probably make a fool of myself and piss a lot of people off, so look for it tomorrow ;) Although, me saying it like that probably tells you a lot about my response. Tomorrow :D
The real question about S4 is WILL I SURVIVE JOHN WATSON’S HOTNESS??
when your otp touches foreheads <33333
I wanted to see what it’d look like if Ben and Martin had each other’s eye color and that’s the story of how I died.
Lester Nygaard - Martin Freeman muscle appreciation
Martin may appear on series 2 of “The Life Of Rock With Brian Pern”? (x)
Can’t wait to see it!
I’m home! I’m so fucking happy. What a long day. I’m so cold!!! Why is it cold!? Damn this country…. I can finally view my tumblr properly… not just a whole bunch of white blocks.
Posting will resume as normal starting tomorrow…
should i call a doctor
for i fear that you might be dead
but i just lay down beside you
and held your head
Gawd, what is this from?
Back home from a wonderful couple of days in London with missmollysolverson and Richard 3.
I’ve had time to let things sink a bit, so here be my review – this will be seriously loooong. (If there is anyone left who hasn’t seen it, here be spoilers). Alas, no Martin stage door for me, but the play alone was soooo worth the trip.
To get the big ones out of the way – Martin Freeman was fucking amazing. Utterly engrossing and, towards the end, chilling. It was absolutely unlike any other of his performances. Just the physical aspect was incredible – like with Lester, he completely transformed himself through the limping walk and slanted stance because of the hump. His voice also seemed different (and I loved Richard’s cackling laugh).
No wonder he is knackered from the run as it was very demanding, especially the second half. By the end, he sweats through his whole shirt aside from where the prop hump is and he kept wiping his face throughout. How his voice held out for three months is beyond me as, man, can he yell.
The production itself was superb. Richard 3 was the first Shakespeare play I have ever seen in a theatre and since then it has been one of my favourite of his plays and this was, by far, the best production I have ever seen.
The setting worked really well for a modern version. Placing it in the late 70s gives it enough of a distance to today to make it universal, yet it is clearly as pertinent today. The change from the first half to the second was really pronounced. Richard went from smart, business man like politician (banality of evil) to an utter dictator, terrorizing those around him so they don’t know if he is going to kiss them or kill them.
I jotted down notes afterwards in my copy of the script and this happened:
He really must have studied filmed Hitler speeches, it was spot on, albeit brief.
I was lucky to see it three times from three very different seats and you pretty much have to in order to see everything as there is SO MUCH going on and every seat gives you ,literally, a different perspective. I loved the stage seating, because it is so immediate (and boy is Martin’s voice loud when he yells at you back there), but it is designed mainly for the main audience with seats on the right (facing the stage) being the best as he faces that direction most.
There were also slight differences in each performance, mainly from Martin. In the scene when his mother, the Duchess of York, curses him, they have a tinny drum sound playing from a handheld recorder. He made her wait before she could speak in the matinee performance by suddenly moving his hunchbacked shoulder in rhythm and sticking his tongue out at her. He didn’t do that the other two times. It was bloody great!
In the evening performance, King Edward accidentally kicked over his oxygen tank and Martin actually went heeehee almost corpsing.
Then there was Tyrell singing his line that he was to kill the princes in the Tower which he did on two occasions, but not Saturday evening. When he does sing it, Martin did this unbelieving double take and then cackle that was great.
Overall, I liked Saturday’s matinee performance the best, though on Monday it seemed more frantic, maybe because of the day’s rest in between. The second half is seriously breathless in the way events overtake themselves and everything falls apart for Richard.
My favourite moment from the play, “I am not in the giving vein!” (and I had hoped that this pic:
was that very moment when the images came out and it was, yay: He changed that as well, yelling it in a rage twice and saying it menacingly quiet one time (I preferred the yelling).
On to other favourite bits:
The wooing of Anne: I liked how Martin’s Richard wasn’t the sexy, charming Richard often seen but drew the audience in through shared laughter (though the laughter sometimes died in my throat when you thought about what was said) and sheer rational cunning. His Richard was clearly an actor in a play within a play as he plays everyone around him until everything goes to shit and he loses his cool.
The best bit was after winning Anne over, he bends down to the corpse of Prince Edward and says the lines “I’ll have her. But I won’t keep her for long.” by leaning down towards him as if saying to his corpse alone in an up yours kinda way.
Margaret’s curse: I love how they kept Margaret a constant foreboding presence on the stage somewhere. She was usually sitting on a bench under the picture of the current king sipping (fake) gin.
Her curse was done through the set up PA system that is used frequently throughout with bursting light bulbs and boy was Maggie Steed incredibly good.
Richard making peace with everyone else: King Edward VI makes everyone use above mentioned PA system to declare their loyalty to everyone else including Richard (who comes in late from the elevator). Before he can properly start, Ricers takes a slurping sip from his cup of tea that forces Richard to stop and glare at him. The whole scene was set to mindless muzak and tea and sandwiches being handed around.
Richard’s faking not wanting to be king when the mayor comes with everyone to ask him. Richard walks out holding a Bible and Gregorian chants sort of music playing on a handheld tape player. He walks by the Bishop of Ely and looks at him, motioning to the Bible and his collar as if to say hey, priest’s collar, you’re as serious a Christian as me. Had me in stitches.
After intermission, Richard’s entrance: Hello, red uniform kink aside, everyone but Richard walks on stage and then you hear a toilet flushing before Richard strolls out all casual like. He’s transformed into a dictator making everyone wait to his every whim.
He then sits down on the chair that represents the throne to make Buckingham push him to the table as no, King Richard won’t do that himself.
The murder of Anne: That was by far my favourite, sort of, addition to the play. It seems to be a thing to bring off-stage deaths on stage, it happened in the Kenneth Branagh Macbeth I saw last year as well. But boy, this moment. It was SO fucking filthy.
Richard sets up the scene before declaring that Anne is deathly sick, to which she looks surprised as she isn’t. And he goes to her before exiting and places a hand on her forehead as if to take her temperature and makes this “not looking good” face.
When he then comes on again she knows what’s up and tries to flee through the elevator, which malfunctions. To the sound of elevator doors opening and closing and elevator muzak playing, he manhandles her onto a desk and strangles her first with a phone cord and then his bare hands, grunting and moaning throughout as they struggle for a good three or four minutes. Saturday evening from the seat on the left, it looked like he was about to violate her as he strangles her.
Seriously beyond uncomfortable to watch (think Torn Curtains’ death of Gromak if you’ve seen that).
The kicker then is that he adjusts the blouse on her corpse on the table as if to make sure she’s decent and then makes this “I dunno what happened” shrug and look when Tyrell sees her corpse.
Declaring Hastings a traitor: Forbes Masson was sick so Vinta Morgan played Hastings and man was he good as he is sentenced to death out of nowhere by now dictator Richard. Just heartbreaking to see him realize his unjust fate.
Convincing Elizabeth to woo her daughter on Richard’s behalf: This was utterly creepy as, like Elizabeth herself, at times you weren’t sure if he was about to kiss or kill her, utterly terrorizing her into doing what he wants. He was a total Stalin in this, when she’s bound to a chair and utterly at his mercy. Towards the end, he grabs her and forces a kiss on her that goes on too long and again, you just don’t know what he’s about to do as he’s become so unpredictable. It truly was utterly chilling.
Richard’s dream before the battle: That is always tricky to do, but I loved Anne coming out in a nightgown and strangling Richard with a phone cord in his dream, echoing her murder and him grunting (of course) and kicking. Also the reappearance of everyone he’s killed as soldiers in full battle gear wearing balaclavas which they take off to reveal themselves and he then has to kill them again and again.
Richard’s death: They set up the” A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse!” line as a bit of a sick joke by having Richmond face Richard with his gun drawn while Richard only holds a bloody knife. Martin sort of shrugged in a so what way and motioned Richmond to attack, making the famous line as much of a what the hell type of thing as facing someone holding a gun with a knife.
Then, as a final, desperate move, Richard bottles his whole rage, face contorting (making that keening noise Martin did in Nightwatching) before a futile run at Richmond. He dies quickly (though not quietly as the gunshot is bloody loud! I jumped every single time.). Martin was breathing seriously hard as a corpse ;) But man, that utter rage before he dies.
The rest of the cast were top notch, but I especially loved Gerald Kyd as Catesby. He got the most laughs after Martin and was seriously good.
Joshua Lacey as Rivers was also very good as the upstart, hot-headed one. When he’s tortured before his death and then dies writhing on the stage, foaming at his mouth from getting poisoned, wow. There really was no weak link.
Overall, I seriously loooooved this production. Expectations were high from reading everyone’s accounts and they were more than surpassed. I have never laughed so much during a R3, but it just worked and I love that Martin’s professional Shakespeare debut was utterly his own thing going against convention. As if necessary, but it really reinforced what an utterly brilliant actor Martin is and I will also keep my eye out for more Jamie Lloyd productions in the future.
Sorry for rambling, but man, this was utter brilliance.