Greg Hicks is theatrical excellence, Femi Elufowoju, Jr masterful in Arcola Theatre’s Richard III

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Richard III - Arcola Theatre - c-Alex-Brenner -9

Despite being a confirmed culture vulture, I was a bit concerned about how my ADHD would hold up for Richard III. This is Shakespeare’s second longest play, and I am a person who has to sit on my hands during the five seconds of YouTube videos you can’t skip. I needn’t have worried, however. The play was edited to fit three pacy hours (the uncut version is four!), and I would have watched three hours more if Greg Hicks were in it. Mind blowing, spell-binding, life-affirming theatre at its very best!

Femi Elufowoju, Jr – veteran performer and director – very generously gave out two complimentary tickets to see the play at the last TAWA event. I was delighted to have won, firstly because my constitution is rock solid; awoof has never once run my belle, and secondly because a Shakespeare performance with a Nigerian in it? I’ll have some of that, thank you very much!

I eventually went alone because my first attempt with a date involved a dastardly duel with the Dartford Tunnel in which the latter won, so I had to have my tickets postponed to another showing. That empty seat next to me was the only free seat in the house and the fortuitous incident meant I could wriggle and writhe in delight to my heart’s content at the scenes played out in front of me.

Richard III, performed so effortlessly and bewitchingly by the talented Greg Hicks, is a ruthless, power-crazed misogynist who lies and cheats his way to the throne of England, but loses everything along the way, including, eventually, his life.

Richard III - Arcola Theatre - c-Alex-Brenner -8

The script, though mostly in its original Shakespearean dialogue with hints of today’s twang thrown in, is sharp, punchy, racy, yet easy to follow. The actors, though few, do a blinding job of carrying the audience along with their facial expressions, tone and gait.

And Hicks! Greg Hicks! This crippled, scheming, unfortunate King Richard! He recites some of the strongest, sharpest, most wicked lines ever written down with believable ferocity. You at once love, loathe and feel pity for this man who fears nothing and will lose everything.

Breathtaking. Never was a standing ovation more deserved.

My benefactor and now-friend, Femi Elufowoju, Jr, seems to always carry with him an air of royalty. Despite not being a lead character, in both roles played, he was indomitable and strong; a delight to behold.

Richard III - Arcola Theatre - c-Alex-Brenner -3

I consider myself lucky to have seen this theatrical pleasure. Indeed, as Elufowoju has mentioned that his play, The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives, is to return to London next year, this has made me look forward to that play even more!

You might have missed this, but prepare yourselves. Get a babysitter, get your mother in-law…matter of fact, sell the kids. Just make yourself available for next year’s performance. It promises to be thrilling!

The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives

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