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Richard III – Bristol Old Vic REVIEW

Here lies the story of a psychopath who will do whatever it takes to become king. Motivated by his appearance and driven mad by power, Headlong’s Richard III is a bloodbath of a battle to reach the top of the food chain.

Tom Mothersdale as Richard was superb. Stretching the character to create a new and all effective “deformed” Richard, complete with modern leg brace. His physicality excelled his performance, from his cheeky and subtle facial expressions which had the audience laughing to his consistent stance and gait which was 100% convincing.


Mothersdale was barely off stage and never put a foot wrong. He outshone the rest of the cast, who were all equally good but not a patch on this king.

His comedic moments brought much welcomed light relief to the audience as they broke up the relentless murder and intense dialogue.

Being Shakespeare’s second longest production, after Macbeth, I was worried about it being inaccessible but with the physicality and understanding of the script from the actors, all was clear and understandable.


One of my favourite parts of the production was the design elements. Gothic outlines, tailored suits, velvet textures along with the two way swinging mirrors and overlooking balcony. Every decision was well thought through and that was so satisfying as an over analytical audience member.

Mirrors in a semi circle shape create the symbolism of Richard’s entrapment within his own body image. This emphasised the theme of his appearance affecting his life and it is his self loathing that becomes motivation for a lot of his doing.

Sound and lighting are also very effective with red strobe and white noise accompanying peaks in the.


This production is bloody, to say the least. Bones cracking, blood spurting… there is definitely enough dark deaths in this show to satisfy.

This show would be fine without Mothersdale, but he is what makes this production worth seeing. His performance is brilliant and dare I say he slightly outshines the production he is in.

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