Teenage Dick, Donmar Warehouse - ★★★★ - Until February 1, 2020


Shakespeare's Richard III reimagined as American highschool election drama. It's an odd premise but it works! This is a thoughtful and entertaining adaptation which we didn't expect from the rather silly title. The adaptation of Shakespeare's characters and plots to contemporary settings has become almost an industry, and this piece does it better than many others. Mike Lew translates Richard and his disability to the world of cliques and physical obsession that fashion the values of adolescent life. Richard's disability lends to him being typed by himself and by others as an outsider. However, the casting of a second disabled actor as Buckingham challenges the audience to see beyond the protagonist's physical presence and to deal with him as the uniquely morally tormented person whom he is. Richard is a victim of discrimination, but he is also an individual making choices. We come to identify with him as such as we see him through his triumphs as exemplified in the extraordinary dance sequence, and through his pain graphically exposed in the scene in which his plotting unravels. While his disability has been instrumental in fashioning his interaction with the world it has not determined who he is nor should it determine how we see and judge him. Daniel Monks gives an extraordinary performance as Richard and makes the often awkward convention of the soliloquy work. Siena Kelly is completely believable as conflicted Anne Margaret and Alice Hewkin is wonderfully annoying as Clarissa. Ruth Madeley gets it just right as Richard's unblindered best friend and Callum Adams embodies the high school jock. Susan Wokoma is thoroughly amusing as harried school teacher, Elizabeth York. With this strong cast and well-written reworking, Shakespeare again resonates for a new audience with a contemporary perspective on enduring issues.

Reviewed by J.C.

 Our Score:  ☆☆☆☆ 

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WHEN, WHERE, GETTING THERE:
Until February 1, 2020.
Mon - Sat: 7:30 pm, Thu & Sat: 2:30 pm
Donmar Warehouse
Nearest tube: Covent Garden
https://www.donmarwarehouse.com/production/7415/teenage-dick/

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