Closed 2h 55m
Richard II (BAM)
Brooklyn
88

Richard II (BAM) NYC Reviews and Tickets

88%
(50 Reviews)
Positive
98%
Mixed
2%
Negative
0%
Members say
Great acting, Absorbing, Great staging, Ambitious, Intelligent

About the Show

BAM, the Royal Shakespeare Company, and Ohio State University present the first of Shakespeare's four plays about the House of Lancaster.

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Member Reviews (50)

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85
Ambitious, Intelligent, Great writing, Great staging, Great acting

See it if you want to experience the best of RSC at BAM. Tennant is terrific. Many fine speeches and strong characterizations! Impressive rhymes.

Don't see it if the Shakesp histories don't appeal to you. Even in a smart, updated version, the language is challenging.

82
Intelligent, Clever, Ambitious, Great acting, Disappointing

See it if You like the bard done in a traditional manner, hearing Shakespeare spoken by Englusg actors, are a fan of David Tennant, like the histories

Don't see it if You have trouble understanding iambic pentameter, traditional stagings bore you, not a fan of the histories, find the bard hard to follow

Critic Reviews (24)

April 4th, 2016

"This Richard is notably effeminate and moves suddenly between sighing boredom and fits of angry petulance. Mr. Tennant speaks the verse with elegant grace and clarity...Are we to believe that Richard’s growing awareness of his vulnerable humanity...is a direct result of his sexual awakening? This seems reductive, and has a modestly deflating effect on both a fine performance and a fine production...All in all, there isn’t a false or hollow rendering of any character in these productions."
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April 6th, 2016

"David Tennant is thrilling as Richard II, the vain and insecure ruler who acquires depth and dignity on his descent to deposition and death. Audiences used to seeing Tennant reel off 'Doctor Who' banter will be impressed by how musical and crystalline he renders Richard’s exquisitely lyrical, glittering laments."
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April 6th, 2016

"Its interpretive work is instead done almost exclusively on a conceptual level, and achieved through the acting...This kind of quiet rethinking works best in 'Richard II,' which is to my mind the best of the plays...Tennant, a longtime Shakespearean, naturally has the vocal skills to get the text across smoothly, but his exceptional wit is what makes his performance the standout of the Henriad...Without that wit the verbal intricacy of the text becomes laborious instead of beautiful."
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April 3rd, 2016

"Royal Shakespeare Company artistic director Gregory Doran's staging of 'Richard II' is most notable for the supple playfulness of David Tennant's performance...The U.S. stage debut of the brilliant Scottish actor doesn't disappoint...Not every aspect of the production is as sharp...The women are also weak, not helped by a drama that already marginalizes them...But the commandingly eccentric center of the production is Tennant."
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April 13th, 2016

"Tennant is a natural as the unnatural king. (Plus: rendering Richard as a Christ-like figure – The white robe! The 12 apostle-like subjects, every one a Judas! The platform that carries him heavenward after his death! – evokes an unexpected strain of sympathy.)...If you have 12 hours to spare, you won’t regret it one bit."
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April 4th, 2016

"Meant for those who like to see Shakespeare plays performed by a seasoned cast, in a traditional style, with lavish production values and without any cuts to the text...Gregory Doran (artistic director of the RSC) stages the entire cycle with liveliness, medieval flair and textual clarity, bringing out multilayered performances from his large cast, many of whom appear in multiple plays...Standouts include David Tennant’s self-loving and dangerously naive Richard."
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April 13th, 2016

"In this excellent production (helmed by RSC artistic director Gregory Doran), national mythology takes center stage...Tennant plays a sniveling, foppish Richard, whose arbitrary judgment and cavalier disregard for the rights of his vassals seem directly related to his outsize sense of divine entitlement...As he loses his kingdom, Tennant makes us feel a strange mixture of amusement and pity."
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April 20th, 2016

“Performed in rotating repertory with a cast of 31 accomplished British actors who continue in their roles in each play in which their characters appear, the four productions all by Gregory Doran, artistic director of the RSC, are lucid, absorbing and accessible. Whether you get to see the plays in chronological order or just one of these stand-alone plays, you will have an unforgettable experience in drama, history and Shakespeare.”
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April 12th, 2016

"Not only does Tennant have stage presence and the Shakespearean chops to deliver the verbal brilliance of King Richard, but he fully realizes the royal who devolves from a pompous ruler to a deposed king. Tennant cuts quite a memorable figure here…You watch a rigorous tug-of-war for the crown between these two polar-opposite cousins, and witness how realpolitiks here trumps the notion of being 'God's anointed.' If you're going to only one play, make it this one."
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April 15th, 2016

"Doran punctuates his staging with vivid performances, mesmerizing gilded illusions, and some unfortunate heavy-handed operatic voices. It turns out he need not have had the singers emphasize through song what his compelling cast already produced – a sense of fragile humanity and the dramatic consequences of the foolhardy acts of men. It’s a vibrant and stunning production."
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April 3rd, 2016

"The productions I saw are exhilarating—played without gimmick and with an exquisitely trained company. For all the beauty of the language, the actors never let studied artifice take the place of lucidity, psychological nuance and roaring action...Tennant’s Richard finds much to admire in his androgynous self, draping his long bones, tossing his long auburn hair and making capricious, imperious decisions with a Christ-like assumption of infallibility."
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April 8th, 2016

"Gregory Doran’s production of 'Richard II' is a thunderous start to 'King and Country'...'Richard II' is all verse, and is spoken commandingly here..Any quibbles are minor...Overall, though, Doran has created this 14th-century Shakespearean world with great precision, attending not just to Tennant’s towering performance, but to tiny moments...This 'Richard II' is curtain raiser to what promises to be a landmark visit."
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April 6th, 2016

"The play is packed with Shakespeare’s almost supernaturally rich and powerful language, and the RSC’s actors have a remarkably well-developed ability to convey its meaning...The large array of characters can be dizzying. Yet the story comes across magnificently…Artistically, the production is paced with breathtaking perfection and visually opulent, just right for a royal drama. Technically, it’s straightforward and remarkably smooth, sonically well balanced, operatically capacious."
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April 12th, 2016

"An absolutely superlative revival...The entire cast is excellent. Tennant powerfully holds center stage in the title role...As in many of Shakespeare's works, there are numerous scenes in 'Richard II' that can easily be played for either dramatic or comedic effect. Director Gregory Doran skillfully blends elements of both throughout this production...'Richard II' gets Shakespeare's Great Cycle of Kings off to a rousing and very impressive start."
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October 17th, 2013
For a previous production

"Doran's beautifully crafted, richly detailed production sets a high standard for himself and others to aim at. David Tennant gives a mesmerising performance that grows in power as Richard's authority declines...What Doran's production brings out is the rich complexity of a play that raises the eternal question of at what point it becomes legitimate to unseat a manifestly flawed ruler. Shakespeare's play may be set in 14th-century England. It remains a timelessly political work."
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October 18th, 2013
For a previous production

"This production is more reverent than radical...Thanks to an emphasised aura of restraint, you don’t get much sense of the hurly-burly of this chapter of history...Tennant is frail, pale and consistently interesting but the nervous energy he excels in is confined to quarters early on...It’s the older hands who galvanise proceedings with emotional intensity in the first half...The evening is always lucid but only truly crystalises as things fall apart."
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March 30th, 2015
For a previous production

"This intelligent, lucid and atmospheric production is–in the best possible sense–the sort of thing you’d expect from Doran...Tennant is a striking Richard...His whole life is a performance that the actor proves curiously well-equipped to deal with. So the star delivers, then, and so does the rest of the cast...It all runs like a dark dream....This is a robust and haunting season opener."
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October 18th, 2013
For a previous production

"David Tennant and Gregory Doran join forces again for this lucid and gripping account of Richard II...Tennant–in splendid form here–trains his talents on the most self-absorbed and inward-looking of the Bard’s monarchs...Tennant vividly exudes the bored irritability that erupts in tyrannical caprice...There isn’t a weak link in the cast...Another palpable hit for the Tennant/Doran collaboration."
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October 20th, 2013
For a previous production

"It is an excellently clear production...Tennant strikes an unexpected figure on his first appearance. But this is the starting point of a journey to prime Tennant territory...Tennant’s gift is to unravel such knots of language. The rest of the principal cast is correspondingly heavyweight...The set design is a little excessive..But this does not get in the way of Doran’s staging, which even injects a note of homoeroticism rendered poignant by subsequent treachery."
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October 18th, 2013
For a previous production

"Tennant does not disappoint. He delivers a vivid, intelligent performance...Gregory Doran’s production moves slowly for the first hour or so but it is satisfying both visually and dramatically. It also benefits from the strongest RSC cast in a long time...This is a clear, detailed and dynamic account of a drama that can often seem glutted with artful rhetoric and ceremonial formality. It is an impressive start to Doran’s campaign to stage all Shakespeare’s plays."
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November 17th, 2013
For a previous production

"I cannot remember ever seeing a production of a play by William Shakespeare as exquisite as Gregory Doran’s wonderful 'Richard II'...From the very first words, there is a clarity at work with the text – this production tells the sad tale of Richard and Henry clearer and cleaner than any I have ever seen. Tennant is quite miraculous...The casting is solid, almost everyone is perfect...This is a startlingly clear and quite gorgeous production of a play which can seem convoluted."
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October 18th, 2013
For a previous production

"Often represented as effete and capricious, even gay, Richard needs a very special actor to seek out all the crevices of his personality. David Tennant is that actor. From the moment he arrives on stage, he shows us with sly precision a man in thrall to his own vanity, seduced by his anointed position and intelligent enough to be aware of both...Gregory Doran's production is superbly orchestrated...This is a lucid, moving production packed with tremendous performances."
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October 17th, 2013
For a previous production

"Stratford's 'Richard II' is a wondrous spectacle...Mr Tennant is good, very good, but not yet a great. His performance lacks the final five yards of nobility. You get the feeling that Mr Doran has reined him in...As the run continues he may well trust the rhythm of the verse a little more, and check those little squeaks of personal vanity. Despite those quibbles, this is a definitive production of a great play and well worth catching when it is broadcast live to cinemas next month."
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January 13th, 2016
For a previous production

"I laughed and I cried as Tennant cleverly managed to evoke sympathy for a King who is arrogant and self-centred. His Richard is a clever wordsmith but one who only realises and utilises the power of that when it is too late...That is part of the genius of this production, the rest of the cast are so good it doesn’t just feel like Tennant’s play...It’s my first five-star play of the year and that isn’t bad for the second week in January."
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