Richard II at The Barbican Center.

david tennant richard II

The first thing that hits you when you arrive at the Barbican Center is : it’s huge! And when I say “huge”, I mean that you literally have to follow a yellow line in order to find your way into the building.

There are people everywhere, having a drink, chatting, and even though you haven’t even bought your program yet, you can feel the excitement rising from the crowd.

The gigantic posters of the play are everywhere. David Tennant and Richard II are staring at you, no matter where you look.

And then, finally, you find your seat. The first thing you notice is the coffin on stage. Dark and alone. And then, it begins. Jane Lapotaire’s Duchess of Gloucester is suddenly here, mourning, and is soon joined by the Court and its androgynous King.
This Richard II looks like a twisted echo of the Christ, with his long hair, his white robes and the cross resting on his chest. But for now, the comparison stops here. He is careless, capriciously tyrannical, disdainful, and so narcissistic that it’s rather obvious he has no idea what’s coming. Needless to say that the usually cheerful and agreeable Mr Tennant is long forgotten, lost in this VERY good performance.

His opponent, Henry Bolingbroke, interpreted by the great Nigel Lindsay, is his exact opposite. There is nothing delicate about him. He is rough, and fierce. A warrior, loved by his people. The King may be his cousin but blood is the only thing they have in common.

However, despite the undeniable talent of D. Tennant, N. Lindsay, J. Lapotaire, O.F. Davies and M. Pennington, who are without a doubt at their best, the first hour of the play sometimes feels a bit still, empty. As if the Barbican’s immensity was weighing heavily on it. The stage seems too big, and, to me, the Court seemed frozen in some kind of invisible fog, not even moving a hair whenever someone was talking.

Thankfully, after these few minutes, the play finally explodes in all it’s magnificence. Tragic for a second, and the next, hilarious. No matter how well you know the play, the cast and all the team manage to surprise you. In all his apparent frailty, Tennant’s Richard II remains deliciously sarcastic with his half-tragic, half-contemptuous “Here cousin!”. The liberties taken by the creative team fit perfectly with their interpretation of the play (and will remain unspoken to preserve the surprise for those of you who will have the privilege to see it soon by themselves).

The deposition scene is simply a masterpiece. Two kings. Yes, two kings. One, waiting for the last missing piece of his coronation, supported by the people, the other appearing truly dignified for the first time, standing straight, with bare feet, but grand, his last spark of nobility shining brighter than ever. Two kings reunited by the unique and simple golden crown that will be the beginning of one and the end of the other.

All in all, this play is a “must see” and a delight for the mind that will brighten your day like a raising sun. Bravo!

Alixia Buffière.

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After Earth, a pleasant surprise.

           On my way to see After Earth, i must admit i had my doubts, and prejudices. Another futurist movie with a pseudo-post-apocaliptic senario. Just a way to show us how being Will Smith’s son might come in handy, what with having a role in a super-production with Daddy without doing anything and all that…

However, i had to change my mind, and recognize that the young Jaden Smith definitely inherited of the acting talent of his father. The fear and distress he showed were utterly convincing and, to me, he was perfect for the role. And the chemistry between him and his father was obvious.

The special effects were also rather successful and impressive, and i didn’t miss the lack of 3D.

Of course, there was close to no suspense as to how the movie would end, but the emotion driven by the young boy’s journey to survive eases our eventual thirst for twisted senarios.

All in all, I recommend to go see this movie in the theatres, where the large screens will increase all your feelings like no simple TV could do. I had a great time, and whereas it be with your family, or with your friends, i have no doubts that you will too !!

xx.

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Time Tourism

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               Once upon a time… What? What would you like to see? A dinosaur that would not be jailed in Jurrassic Park? The Big Bang? Henry V trying to conquer France? Shakespeare writing Coriolanus? A Beatles concert? Or maybe the end of the world, Doctor Who style? Would you rather see the future, or the past? So many options. Whenever i think about it, i get an overwhelming feeling of both excitment and despair (knowing that it can only be a dream). I would like to witness so many things. The World War II, the reign of Louis XIV, the dinosaurs extinction. And so many of my question will remain unanswered. Will we ever travel to another galaxy? How long will the human survive? Will some of my stuff be exposed in a futurist museum thousands of years from now (how cool would that be?!) with some very futurist looking people wondering what i used them for?

Yes, to me, Time tourism would be the travel nectar. There should be the option to be able to stay invisible of course. We wouldn’t want to stay stucked in a goulag on a misunderstanding… And some strict rules about how to interact with all the people from these other times. But it would be the most extraordinary experience!

And you? What would you like to see?