Richard II in the House of Commons

Last weekend I was lucky enough to have won two of only 100 available tickets to see a special performance of Shakespeare’s Richard II in the House of Commons.

And lucky is definitely the word.


For those who don’t know, Saturday 23rd April marked 400 years of Shakespeare. Events all over the country, in indie bookstores, in arts centres and on the streets of the capital itself, all marked a celebration of William Shakespeare.

Seeing Richard II in Parliament was not just a performance of Shakespeare, but an experience.

From the moment we walked through security into Westminster, through the unusually quiet halls, we were part of the experience and the atmosphere.

The performance itself was brilliant, the production successfully maintains the original script and language of Shakespeare whilst supplanting it into a world of 21st Century politics using BBC breaking news headlines and smart technology.

You never lost the precarious feeling of the balance of power constantly shifting, and the unravelling of the characters and their diminishing political power was something you could only dream of witnessing in the real world of Westminster!

The cast of this production not only portrayed the characters but also their intricacies and the intricate power that Shakespeare’s play was exposing and unravelling.

A brilliant way to celebrate Shakespeare and a brilliant showcase of talent that I hope will transfer just as well to its run at the Arcola Theatre. Because the magic of this performance was that props and scenery were not as necessary when we were already sitting in and experiencing the setting of the original play.

I hope, and I’m sure, the performance at the Arcola Theatre will continue to do the play as much justice as the spectacular Westminster did.


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