C Fulbrook

Richard III at the Young Vic

The intimate atmosphere of the Young Vic makes the downfall of the King Richard all the more poignant.

Without Aidan McArdle as the lead, the last of the RSC series of the history plays could amount to little more than three hours of dreary wailing and leaden recitation.

McArdle brings charisma and focus, often inciting laughter, while Fiona Bell (Margaret Plantagenet) reeks of remorse as superbly as Richard Cordery (Duke of Buckingham) does of corruption.

The use or props and scenery is minimalist, with little more than a bed, a few holes in the ground full of malmsey wine, steam and dry ice, and dramatic use of the theatre space.

For those who feel they must at least taste the history cycle, this is not to be missed.

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