Review of “R-3” by Dr. Ashdown-Hill

 

R-3

 

The new Centre Five Production on Richard III, by Caroline Devlin & Timothy Allsop

 
 

Dr. John Ashdown-Hill

Dr. John Ashdown-Hill


On 10 October, via one of my publishers, I received an invitation to attend the opening night of R-3, a new play about Richard III, which the co-author, Caroline Devlin, told me was partly inspired by my book The Last Days of Richard III.
 
The venue – a rather grand Victorian gothic church at Chalk Farm – was quite a journey for me, and I arrived a little early. Sitting waiting for the play to start was, in its own way, significant. The church was dimly lit. Six tall candles were burning on the high altar, and the rood screen was wreathed in periodic puffs of smoke, which I saw as symbolic of Henry VII (whose emblem, after all, was a red dragon) still doing his best to obscure the truth about his predecessor.
 
The play was a one-man show, lasting about an hour. Tim Allsop, who played Richard, has taken the same role previously in Shakespeare’s dramatisation, and he had some of the same lines to say in this new play – though the meaning here was different.
 
Caroline and Tim’s play acknowledges the writings of Shakespeare, More, Vergil – and even Ashdown-Hill – accepting some and rejecting others (I will leave you to guess which are which). I didn’t agree with all the interpretations, but then part of the rationale of the new play is its thesis that there are now multiple ‘Richards’ and that it is sometimes hard to tell which (or whose) ‘Richard’ is the real one.
 
Personally I found the interpretation of Richard’s relationships with his mother and with Anne Neville moving. However I have never been able to accept the notion that Richard was a sickly child. Towards the end of the play I found myself moved, too, by Richard’s profound analysis of what it means to be a king.
 
The close of the play was sad. Even if Richard III’s body has now been dug up in Leicester, in one sense he is still deeply buried.
 
The play was enthusiastically received by the audience. If you should get the chance to see it I would strongly recommend doing so. Like me, you may not agree with everything in the new play, but it is certain to inspire both thoughts and feelings.
 
 
John Ashdown-Hill
 
 


 
 
Details and announcement of the play “R-3” in London
 
More information about Dr. Ashdown-Hill and his publications, which are crucial in the current search for King Richard III in Leicester.
 
 

The Last Days of Richard III is a new and detailed exploration of Richard’s last 150 days, based on new evidence and explores the events from the standpoint of Richard himself and his contemporaries.   By deliberately avoiding the hindsight knowledge that he will lose the Battle of Bosworth Field, we discover a new Richard: More Info »

Eleanor Talbot, the woman who put Richard III on the throne.   When Edward IV died in 1483, the Yorkist succession was called into question by doubts about the legitimacy of his son, Edward (one of the ‘Princes in the Tower’).   The crown therefore passed to Edward’s undoubtedly legitimate younger brother, Richard, Duke of More Info »

The first-ever biography about John Howard with new revelations as to why he became Richard III's main supporter.   In 1455 John Howard was an untitled and relatively obscure Suffolk gentleman. Thirty years later, at the time of his death at the Battle of Bosworth Field, he was Earl Marshal, Duke of Norfolk, Lord Admiral More Info »

 
 

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