2015: Richard III
As a dramatist, Shakespeare knew that the interest of an audience is more aroused by a villain than a virtuous 'hero' - so in Richard III he created a witty, intriguing character who right from the start of the play engages his audience by laying out his agenda to achieve his ambition of wearing the crown. All the long dynastic speeches, so essential for a Tudor audience to understand the complexities of the Wars of the Roses, were cut so that our play moved swiftly with the unravelling of Richard's plots until his inevitable nemesis at Bosworth Field.
It received some of our warmest accolades:
"This particular play depends so much on having the right lead - we couldn't take our eyes off Gloucester/Richard, he was so charismatic, time flew by."
"Marvellous, bloody marvellous. Great staging lighting, sound. The acting performances were first class with a mesmeric portrayal of Richard III. One of the best (if not the best) WS performance I have had the good fortune to see anywhere."
And a review from one audience member who was only five years old:
"There was a baddie who was a king, but that wasn't good because he killed people, but it's alright because he died in the end"!