Oddbodies, Richard III

Review in Issue 10-3 | Autumn 1998

Oddbodies give one of the most refreshing interpretations of any Shakespeare play for some time. They provide the essential elements, without the mundane bits that often drag Shakespeare down. An almost bare stage is dominated by a drum kit, a hat stand, some hats, and a chair. Paul de Ville Morel’s Richard enters complete with shades and an attitude as wide as the East End. He smirks wryly, sits and begins to drum. Richard is a rock fan! More Reggie Kray than Laurence Olivier, but, make no mistake, he is an unpleasant man. What gives Richard III his appeal as one of theatre’s favourite bad guys is his irresistible charm and de Ville Morel has plenty – not only as Richard, but the other characters he plays are a demonstration of his flexibility and sense of comedy.

Tanya Scott-Wilson is a major comic find too. She had the audience in stitches, and waiting with baited breath to see what surprise she would pull out of the hat next. With an immensely mobile face, quirky movement, and hilarious timing, she really is a clown to look out for. The competition for gags between the performers – and there was much – was never without complicity and always kept sight of the game. Comedy satisfyingly engulfed tragedy every time, usually leaving the audience in no doubt that the victims deserved it – if only because it made the scenes so funny. John Mowat’s directorial decisions, particularly the use of accents to distinguish the waiting factions, gives an interesting twist on class. The use of percussive music enhances the military overtones. This company makes you realise that tragedy can be genuinely entertaining.

Topics
Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Jul 1998

This article in the magazine

Issue 10-3
p. 25