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Richard II

Following on from a successful run of The Merchant of Venice, the Malachites produce another engaging interpretation of a Shakespeare play with their staging of Richard II, which benefits from the suitably ornate St Leonard’s Church setting.

The production builds on Richard’s eccentricities. Nick Finegan plays the character as a flamboyant showman who self-consciously performs to the crowd. This is reinforced through costume, as Richard parades around in grey tights, wearing his prized crown and an indulgent gown, and thrives as a humorous, self-important figure.

Finegan confidently delivers his lines and seizes the comic value of the verse, pronouncing the lines slowly and gesturing towards the audience, especially during his interactions with Gaunt.

Despite the emphasis on humour within the first half of the production, Finegan is able to adapt to the more stretching elements of the role when his character hurtles towards breaking point. Richard’s loss of power is cleverly represented through the assured direction of Benjamin Blyth, who alternates between placing Richard and Bolingbroke Martin Prest on elevated positions on the balcony and at ground level.

Prest is an intriguing Bolingbroke and captures the audience’s full attention during the moving final moments of this powerful production.

Rebecca Gordon


Production Information

St Leonard's Church, London
Stephen Sondheim music, lyrics. John Weidman book, Hugh Wheeler additional material
Benjamin Blyth
Brian Merry textiles, Shakespeare's Globe costume
Maahin Akhlaque assistant stage manager
Cast includes
Nick Finegan, Danielle Larose, John McEnery, Stephen Connery-Brown, Claire Dyson, Martin Prest, Brian Merry
Sasha Regan, Paul Callen, Union Theatre
Running time
2hrs 50mins