Sam Mendes’ production of Richard III starred Kevin Spacey and was my first experience of the Old Vic. What a little gem of a theatre.
I was slightly disappointed that Mendes/Spacey had decided to give in to typical Richard stereotypes: Spacey’s characterisation emphasises the physical flaws of this character. But so agile was he in terms of language and movement, that we stopped focusing on that after a while. Interesting that, given both director and main star have pedigrees in the film world, this production made interesting use of filmic techniques to add texture and depth to the performance. I loved the use of light and shadow, and the stripped down stage where a deranged Margaret of Anjou gradually marked off the results of her prophesied deaths on a series of doors.
I know that others walked out mid way through the performance as they felt it was too stark and “shouty”. I guess they may have been expecting something extra from an Oscar winning team.
I’ve only realised since that what we saw was actually the preview – that explains why there haven’t been many “official” reviews yet. It could also explain why there was some clunkiness and technical problems which were alluded to before the start of the performance.