You know how sometimes you look forward to something for so long that when it finally happens you're sure it'll be an anti-climax? That's how I felt about seeing Richard III, especially after so many good reviews and so many personal recommendations! There was no need to worry, it was an amazing three hours of theatre. Rob was mesmerising as Richard and I'm pretty sure it wasn't just me who was an emotional wreck by the time he died (not really a spoiler!) My other half said to me afterwards that he could understand why women/girls found Rob so attractive as he has such charisma!! Anyway, front row stalls, brilliant view and I personally think one of, or possibly the, best performances of Rob's career so far. Richard was a brilliant mixture of evil and humour, and there is no doubt hours of thought and rehearsal went into the performance. I kind of thought the performance summed up what we know of Rob’s character- serious about his work but with a wicked sense of humour! The huge ovation at the end was well-deserved.
I could carry on about Richard III for ages but I guess those who are able to see it already have and those that can't live too far away. Check out the trailer Rob recently posted if you want a flavour, I actually flinched when he was spat on!
Q and A
After the performance chairs were set out on the stage for the main actors plus the assistant director. The assistant apologised for the delay and said the actors would join us as soon as they could, once changed out of their costumes. Joely Richardson, Michael Xavier, Kare Conradi, Alex Waldmann and Imogen Daines soon joined us. 'We're just waiting for Robbie now,' (surprise, surprise!) and the questions started without him. Eventually he strode onto the stage complete with man-bun, black boots and tight jeans (!!!!) apologising for the delay and muttering about a 'wardrobe malfunction' - nobody dared ask!!
Some of the questions were quite serious, and amongst others, Rob was asked if it was difficult not to copy Laurence Olivier's interpretation of the role. He said he had only seen snippets of that performance, had watched Kevin Spacey in the role but felt it was important to bring his own 'take' on the part. The assistant director pointed out that Rob was the right age to play the role, because many actors 'play younger' for the part, and Rob corrected her when she gave Richard's age when he died as 35,- ' he was actually 32' he said proudly.
One of the girls in the audience asked Rob if the calipers he wore for the part were heavy and hurt and he said they were very lightweight but had hurt and then two of his 'butch friends' bent them into shape for him so they were not too bad! He did say that his hip and back hurt from contorting his body, (Michael Xavier said everyone got to hear about it when Rob was in pain!) He told us he regular went to a 'camp Austrian osteopath' to sort his hip and back out. 'All Richard The Thirds use him, he's very good'!!!!! Anyone not familiar with Rob's sense of humour before was now enjoying it, judging by the laughs!
The cast were asked how they managed to get through nine hours of Shakespeare without fading away. Imogen Daines said they survived on masses of chocolate, and Rob said that they particularly loved Maltesers and 'all donations would be gratefully received!'
Talking again about the trilogy performances, (nine hours worth as Erinn and others can testify), Joely Richardson said that you would normally have nine weeks to rehearse for one play, but they had nine weeks to rehearse all three, so three weeks per play, a VERY short time. Several examples were given of the cast calling characters by their wrong names, and they all had times when they had to really concentrate as to which play they were performing. Rob said he was about to go on stage one day (in dress rehearsals) and one of the behind-the-scenes people asked if he had forgotten anything- he looked down - no calipers!
One of the audience members said he thought it was amazing how much Richard/Rob's character changed from the Edward IV play to the Richard III one. Alex Waldmann (a great actor in his own right) said he thought Rob's acting was superb, and the assistant director said Rob had the skill to bring about the change in character and how well she thought he played the part.
Kare Conradi was asked if any of the other cast members could speak Norwegian and Michael Xavier and Rob said unfortunately they were both a bit lazy when it came to foreign languages, and the Norwegians put them to shame. However Kare had taught Rob how to say 'What are you wearing?' in Norwegian! Rob then said the phrase in Norwegian (or we assume he did, by that stage he had the audience eating out of his hand so he could have been speaking Swahili and noone would have cared!) Apparently he learnt it to freak out a Norwegian friend of his - again we didn't ask why which is probably just as well! (or is it just my warped mind?)
Joely Richardson said that the cast often felt that the audience should be applauded as much as the cast, especially if they saw all three plays. There was therefore a nice touch when the Q and A finished when the audience applauded and the cast applauded back. So I have now been applauded by Robert Sheehan himself, as have (by proxy) all other Sheesters who have seen the play(s).
There are probably bits of this Q and A I've missed as I wasn't taking notes, and the man-bun on top of the three-hour play were frankly mentally exhausting! The main Rob parts are there though. He was serious and funny in equal parts, rather like in the play!.
Three main regrets
1) I didn't take a photo of the q and a because no-one else did, but frankly who can't imagine Rob in tight jeans and man-bun being both serious and funny!
2) I was in the middle of a row so couldn't get out quick enough to get an autograph. By the time I got out of my row Rob was exiting stage left, arm round Imogen, no doubt planning which pub to go to. Still, already have an autograph, so can't complain!
3) Finding out via a fellow guest that all the cast were in a pub three doors up from where we spent the evening!
Still, mustn't complain, although I now know what Erinn means by a 'massive fan-girl comedown', if only I'd been able to see all three! If you can only see one of them do go if you can-he’s seriously brilliant!