Richard III

Ben Miles Reviews - Theater

Thought to be penned in the year 1593 by William Shakespeare , Richard III — a historical play depicting King Richard III’s odious ascension to the throne — is the second longest play in the Shakespearean canon, with Hamlet the lengthiest. Nevertheless, and even though director Brian Kojac (who also portrays the delightfully maniacal Richard III) has added a prologue taken from Shakespeare’s Henry VI, Part 3, which according to the director’s note, “will help you better understand the relationships and events referred to throughout...,”  the pace of this production clips along in a crisp two-act, two-hour presentation.

Enriched by sterling performances, including Jill Carey Martin as Queen Margaret; Samantha Green as Lady Anne; Laura Lynn Orlow as Queen Elizabeth; and Elizabeth Schembre as the Duchess Of York. This distaff quartet is visceral in their shared contempt for the wretched Richard III.  Martin’s hatred of this emotional mutant is palpable, while  Green’s spittle that she aims toward the face of Richard III suggest the nausea she is made to feel by Richard’s amorous intonations and suggestions — yuck! Orlow’s Queen Elizabeth is brought to visible teardrops by Richard III’s emotional entrapment of her.  Schembre's contained emotions vividly burst forth in an unexpected moment with Richard III.

With sinister machinations and battle scenes to die for (pun intended), this Richard III is rousing, foreboding, and, at times, edge-of-your-seat entertaining. Sturdy support offered by the two-dozen players in this incarnation of Richard III is masterfully choreographed and thoroughly accomplished.  Also deserving of praise are Donny Vanhorn as Richard III’s henchman Brackenbury, Scotty Keister as Lord Hastings, and Ryan Sepulveda and Leonard Joseph Dunham as Murders 1 and 2, respectively.

With an adaptable black box scenic design (by Kojac), meticulous costume designs, which evoke the sensibilities of the 15th century (by Celestina Hudson) — as well as spot on lighting and sound design and operation by Brian Newell and Trevor Clayton, respectively — this Richard III is not only a grand theatrical experience but also a warning against tyrannical, opportunistic leadership. Who’ll document and dramatize the reign of would-be King Donald J. Trump I?

Richard III continues at the Maverick Theater through August 17. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. Sunday performances are at 6 p.m. The Maverick Theater is located at 110 East Walnut Avenue, Fullerton, CA.For reservations call (714) 526-7070. For online ticketing visit



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