|Bojana Kos , Dene Kermond, Duncan Driver and Christopher Stollery in Rockspeare Richard lll Photo by PassOut Media|
Rockspeare Richard lll, by William Shakespeare.
From Live in Ya Lounge. Directed by Lexi Sekuless. Music composed and directed by Jay Cameron. Costumes by Fiona Victoria Hopkins.Lakespeare and Co. in association with Event Audio Visual Services and RAMADA Canberra. Where You Are Festival. Streamed Live from the Mallee Pavilion EPIC (Exhibition Park in Canberra ) Until August 8. Bookings www.lakespeare.com/stream/
Reviewed by Peter Wilkins
As the saying goes, “Never let the truth get in the way of a good story. It is advice that Shakespeare would have agreed with in his history play about Richard lll. Readers of Josephine Tey’s Daughter of Time and avid followers of findings resulting from the alleged discovery of the two princes’ bones and Richard’s skeleton under concrete in a Lancaster car park might question the authenticity of Shakespeare’s political thriller. But then Richard was a Plantagenet and Queen Elizabeth was descended from Henry Vll, a Lancastrian, and we know where Shakespeare’s loyalty lay. Lakespeare’s electrifying live streamed production of Richard lll from Live in Ya Lounge at EPIC brings a chilling and thrilling stream-lined Rockspeare version production of Shakespeare’s Machiavellian inspired royal villain.
From the opening jig it is evident that Lakespeare’s Richard lll promises a pulsating version of the play, highlighted by Jay Cameron’s brilliantly inspired composition and costumed once again in Fiona Hopkins’s highly imaginative and creative costumes. Who would have thought to costumes Christopher Stollery's murderous Tyrell in a kilt, tweed jacket and a high hat? It is the kind of imaginative, experiemntal interpretation that characterizes the entire production. Bathed in rock concert lighting and choreographed with forceful imagination, the dance is fired with the spirit of the time. Wars and conflicts, intrigues and betrayal, murder and ruthless ambition lay open the drama in this engrossing online production. I confess that I longed to be in the Mallee Pavilion at EPIC, witnessing live this explosion of energy and feeling Cameron’s music course through my body. But this is the time of Covid, and as well as introducing the company to the viewer, it also effectively evokes the character of the drama and the Time.
|Adele Querol as Buckingham |
Lakespeare’s liberties with text
and characters have resulted in an exciting and dynamic telling of this historical
tale. As a live theatre performance it may appear a little sparse at times and
speed too swiftly towards its denouement, but as a live streamed performance of
Shakespeare it is superbly compact, constantly engaging and thoroughly
accessible. Central to this engagement is Dene Kermond’s performance of
Richard. His villainous intent comes as no surprise. It is espoused in his
opening prologue. However evil has many expressions and Kermond combines self-righteous
malevolence with invidious guile, animal instinct and rhetorical persuasion . Kermond’s absorbing, energy-charged and at
times chilling performance presents a complex and intriguing character who can make
the unbelievable believable.
Lakespeare’s reputation is already affirmed with its Summer Season of Shakespeare. Its first live streamed Winter production is again proof of the company’s ability to provide excellent professional performances of the Bard’s plays. My hope is that the company will be adequately supported financially to present first rate Shakespearian productions and return to live theatre once the pandemic has passed and Rockspeare’s Richard lll can be reprised on a Canberra stage.