Shakespeare’s most evil creation Richard III is brought to new repugnant heights in Thomas Ostermeier’s new production.

Lars Eidinger, adorned with fake humpback and club foot, slinks across the stage to a live drum score with a hideous lecherous grin like theatre’s answer to Marilyn Manson. Eidinger’s Richard is too big to fit inside the fourth wall and breaks out in spurts, snarling monologues and raps into a hanging microphone and berating the audience, at one point even inciting us to chant slanders against another character. This audience interaction brings another dimension, ripping the play out from the classic Shakespeare canon and forcing us to be implicit in Richard’s deeds, knowing his true thoughts while those on stage do not. The microphone swings centre stage like a noose for the full 2 hours and 30 minutes, an omnipresent reminder of the merciless villain and his sins, even as he manipulates and charms others around it.

In an early scene, he manages to woo Lady Anne despite openly admitting to murdering both her husband and King Henry, such is his despicable attraction and manipulative talents. This scene mirrors the audiences own response: Ostermeier’s Richard III has an evil seductiveness that repels while making it impossible to look away.

Words: Chiara Margiotta

Picture: Arno Declair

Richard III, The Lyceum, Aug 24-28, 7.30pm

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