We're not exactly talking "subtle" here . . .
Oh Richard, you bloated spider, you humpbacked scene-stealer you. When will you ever be part of a play, and not a star turn?
Sigh. Judging by the production currently running at BAM? Never.
As with every other Dicky Three-Eyes I have ever seen, with the exception of Olivier's movie, if you take away the lead actor from this Bridge Project production, everything falls apart. If a good play is a mountain range, then this is a single mountain towering over a collection of little hills. A great mountain, but still a mountain, with nothing to contrast itself against. A one-man show, in other words.
The beauty of that? You get to see Kevin Spacey go to town. And it's a great town, complete with incredible physical contortions a la Mark Rylance in
The major flaw? Because Spacey’s Richard is so blatantly over-the-top evil, everybody else on stage look blind or brain-damaged--so instead of saying to yourself, “Look what he’s getting away with,” you say, “Why are they letting him get away with this?” Which, when you’re doing a three-hour play, is like riding a roller coaster backwards, slowly but surely bringing you further and further away from the fun and excitement, until you’re so distant from the ride that all you can see is the architecture. Plus your back hurts a lot. (Thank you,
There are a couple of brilliant first-half multimedia moments, but sadly these are undercut by the interpretation of Richard as an obvious villain. Even the dumbest politico in
For the Shakespearean purists at this blog (cough), director Sam Mendes didn't cut a whole hell of a lot, so for the first time ever I actually got to see a couple of the women scenes that usually never get done when this play gets produced. And now I know why. And have to ask myself, "Did that EVER WORK? Even in 1594? Really? You had four boy actors who were THAT GOOD in 1594 that you wrote a lo-o-o-o-ong scene for them? Wow, Bill. Cocky in your thirties, weren't you?”
This is also the final Bridge Project presentation, which is odd for two reasons: because the last two projects have had two plays in repertory, and because those plays have had more than one star. Or more than one mountain (See above). But it’s not up to the level of the last two, and not least because it feels like the bus and truck Richard (or as we used to say, referring to
Bottom line: it makes me want to live long enough to see someone play Richard like a male femme fatale.