Globe Theatre, 104 London St, Dunedin

30/05/2019 - 08/06/2019

Production Details

A rare opportunity to experience the most accessible of Shakespeare’s political plays, a study of a conflicted character that only “Hamlet” eclipses, and some of the most exquisite verse ever written.

In an exciting new treatment by playwright Keith Scott, this production is a feast for the mind, ears and eyes.

The Globe Theatre Dunedin, 104 London St
Thursday 30 May to Saturday 8 June 2019
Tickets $25 to $10

King Richard II of England and cousin of Bolingbroke:  Alfred Richardson
Henry Bolingbroke, son of John of Gaunt:  Cheyne Jenkinson
John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster:  Nigel Ensor
Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk:  Reuben Hilder
The Duke of York, Uncle to Richard and Bolingbroke:  Ray Spence
The Duke of Aumerle, son of the Duke of York:  Daniel Cromar
The Earl of Northumberland, the power in the North:  Campbell Thomson
Sir John Bushy, a favourite of Richard:  Thomas Makinson
Sir William Bagot, a favourite of Richard:  Philip Greenspoon
Sir Henry Green, a favourite of Richard:  Martin Page
The Bishop of Carlisle, supporter of Richard:  David Thomson
Lord Willoughby, supporter of Bolingbroke:  Robert Stewart
Lord Ross, supporter of Bolingbroke:  Edward Mathews
Sir Stephen Scroop, supporter of Richard:  Reuben Hilder
The Duchess of York:  Terry MacTavish
Queen Isabella of France, consort of Richard:  Beth Lochhead
A Groom of the royal stables:  Thomas Makinson
The Playwright:  Warren Chambers

Direction and Script Adaptation:  Keith Scott
Stage Manager & Properties Manager:  Alison Cowan
Sound and Lighting Design & Operation:  Brian Byas
Set Design:  Keith Scott/Chris Vialle
Set Build:  Ray Fleury/Don Vialle
Set Artwork and Paintings :  Chris Vialle
Set Backdrop:  On generous loan from Jonathan Cweorth
Costume Design & Construction:  Charmian Smith
Armour Construction:  Sofie Welvaert
Swords & Scabbards:  Lloyd Smith
Royal Regalia & stage furniture:  Keith Scott
Publicity, Promotion, Photography:  Otago Polytech Design School
Front of House Manager:  Leanne Byas  

Theatre ,

Impressive performances in Shakespeare adaptation

Review by Barbara Frame 08th Jun 2019

Director Keith Scott has adapted Shakepeare’s Richard II, abridging and sometimes rearranging the text. Subtitled “Is kingship a contract or a right?” this version focuses on the psychological complexity of a legitimate but inept ruler who makes poor decisions and loots his own country to pay for foreign wars. It also produces a dramatically satisfying resolution to the question of who killed Richard.

A new character, The Playwright (Warren Chambers) provides continuity and comments on the action, wearing a Tudor costume and always using Shakespeare’s words. The tightened-up script works well, although I would have liked to see the important garden scene left intact.

Scott has worked with Chris Vialle to design the set – largely unadorned, except for court scenes where magnificent furnishings recall the colours of medieval paintings and tapestries. Costuming by Charmian Smith is always a good reason to see a play, and the sumptuously detailed outfits repeat and reflect the colours of the set.

Performances are mostly very capable, although occasionally dialogue is needlessly rushed, or pauses at the ends of iamblc pentameter lines are too long.

Alfred Richardson and Cheyne Jenkinson make impressive Globe debuts in major roles, and I hope to see them on stage again before too long. As Richard, Richardson demonstrates his character’s weak judgement, vanity and extravagant self-dramatisation. Jenkinson emphasises the grit, confidence and determination of antagonist Henry Bolingbroke. Among other notable performances are those of Nigel Ensor, superb as John of Gaunt – his affecting and memorable “This England” speech is a highlight – and Terry MacTavish, as the Duchess of York, bringing levity and appropriate contrast to the play’s overall solemnity.

It all adds up to a high-quality presentation of one of Shakespeare’s most poetic plays, and the opening night’s near-capacity audience was warmly appreciative.


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A magnificent lesson for modern leaders

Review by Kate Timms-Dean 31st May 2019

The stage is set for a night of tragedy at the Globe Theatre as we are drawn back in time to England in the late 14th century. A striking backdrop loaned to the Globe by the Dunedin Medieval and Renaissance Society fulfils the bright opulence of the royal house of Plantagenet. This is a story of leadership won and lost, and the pitfalls that leaders must face, as much from their foes and detractors as from within their own minds.

It is a night of magnificent characters – the acting is superb. Leading the charge is Richard himself (Alfred Richardson), with a fluid and impassioned rendering of the king. Similarly, his arch-nemesis Harry Bolingbroke (Cheyne Jenkinson) is immaculately delivered, a real presence on the stage. Skilled supporting actors abound, with Reuben Hilder (Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk), Nigel Ensor (John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster), Campbell Thomson (Earl of Northumberland) and Ray Spence (Duke of York) earning a special mention.

In a play dominated by male characters, the female leads shine. Terry MacTavish (Duchess of York) is beyond words; such a talent and a treasure in Dunedin theatre, evoking peals of laughter and skilfully skirting and alluding to the tricky irony of Richard’s life and death. Beth Lochead (Queen Isabella of France) is impeccable in her delivery of the Queen, a woman in fear of losing the life and love she knows and treasures.

The inclusion of the Playwright (Warren Chambers) is a masterstroke, providing a framework for the story and drawing attention to the wider themes of the work. The addition of a selection of the sonnets adds another dimension, shedding further light on the story.

The beautifully produced programme includes a substantial preface to the play, explaining Keith Scott’s rationale in his adaptation of Shakespeare’s original work. He notes that these works should be treated as “living things… not put in a museum case, labelled ‘do not touch’.” While subtle nods can be discerned to modern-day circumstances, there is significant opportunity for greater reference to present examples of leadership that mirror Richard’s experience of jealousy and fear, leading to isolation and division.

Nevertheless, the genius of this production of Richard II is the clear and clever irony that Richard’s greatest fear becomes real as soon as he moves to eliminate it. It is Richard’s fear of Harry’s absolute suitability to the role of king that, in fact, leads Harry to take his place as Henry IV of England. Perhaps this is a lesson that some modern leaders are yet to master.


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