Richard II (TV Movie 1997) Poster

(1997 TV Movie)

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A totally successful experiment
r_j_t_kelly22 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This production caused a storm when it premiered at London's National Theatre, largely due to the casting of Fiona Shaw as the eponymous king. But (as both Shaw and her long-time collaborator, the supremely talented director, Deborah Warner) pointed out at the time: this was no gimmick - it was true to the nature of the character (who doesn't see himself as a man, but as a god) and it enables the audience to engage with the play without being distracted by the "issue" of Richard's sexuality. With the same cast as the National Theatre production (which was reviewed either ecstatically or savagely) and with a similar glowing, golden palette as the designer Hildeggard Bechtler (the third point in the long-running, and still fertile Shaw/Warner triangle) used in the theatre, this is a class act. Shaw's performance is beautifully judged: moving from boyish confidence, arrogance and silliness to a true and total appreciation of mortality and pain. It is marked by her signature intelligence and clarity of thought and it works perfectly. She is complemented by a cast of equal talent to create a flawless vision of a great play.
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It really does not capture the spirit of what is one of Shakespeare's most underrated plays...
mentalistom15 April 2001
Fiona Shaw as the Richard II is perhaps an attempt to link the young king's reign with that of Elizabeth I, however the artistic intentions of the director divert away from the character of Richard and the role of kingship in the play. The staging is unimaginative and there is little symbolism apparent on the profound themes that Shakespeare explores. A really poor attempt to dramatise what is a very good play.
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