“Richard II” is offered in three different versions, with three pairs of actors alternating as Richard and as Bolingbroke… [T]he one “Richard II” that I was able to see benefits from its leading actors. Frank Maraden offers a sympathetic, almost a seraphic, portrait of this tormented poet-king and, in direct contrast, Jim McQueen has a resounding vitality and forcefulness as his challenger Bolingbroke. As played by Mr. McQueen, Bolingbroke’s ascension seems inevitable, but Mr. Maraden lets us feel sorrow of his character’s incapacity, as he cries, “O that I were as great as is my grief, or lesser than my name!” This Richard is weighted down by events and also by Bolingbroke. The rest of the cast ranges from a sturdy John of Gaunt (William Needles) to a lukewarm Hotspur (Michael Totzke) … [The design for] “Richard II” is a glittering shaft of silver. Knights’ armor and boots, a lance as long as a telephone pole, and two metal horses all look newly minted, shooting off a glare that would blind a camera. There is an Oriental simplicity to the production design, symbolized by an enormous Bonsai tree that dominated the scene like an emblem of survival. On this shimmering landscape, Miss Caldwell has marshaled her troop of actors with the skill and resourcefulness of a general (Mel Gussow, New York Times, 12 June 1979)
KeywordsChange Lead Great Aria Early Stance Telephone Pole Opening Scene
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