Richard III comes to Honiton

We are becoming used to high standard productions at Honiton’s Beehive. But Emily Carding’s one woman show of Richard III  – currently on a nationwide tour – was a ‘fantastic evening’ with a simply ‘breathtaking’ rendering of this royal villain. These are not my words but those of local audience member Tracy Devon who tweeted the actor after the show as have many others. Tracy found herself playing Lady Ann Grey, one of a dozen audience members who were drawn into King Richard’s dark and fully believable Machiavellian intrigues in a theatre- in- the round experience.

After ‘now is the winter of our discontent’ – Emily, hunchbacked, black suited  and looking more like a seedy Sun journalist than a king, made unerring eye contact with every member of the audience. One felt a chill descend on the half lit auditorium when King Richard said  ‘There is no creature loves me, And if I die no soul shall pity me’ as those around us were  murdered, one by one, before our eyes. When this psychotic character crawled toward us vainly pleading ‘my kingdom for a horse’ few felt like helping him escape his fate at Bosworth at the hands of Henry Tudor’s Welsh army.

Emily Carding is not only a distinguished Shakespearian actress who has played at the Globe but won the pick of the Edinburgh fringe. She recently returned from the Prague fringe with awards for best, most inspirational and most creative performer. Her astonishing psychological portrait of Richard III took place only yards from Magna Carta which by chance was on display. Like so many monarchs before and after him Richard ignored human rights at his peril.

My only regret was that with decent support for the arts more could have seen this outstanding performance. Thanks to Emily Carding, a superb West Country acting protégé and to Wendy and her team at the Beehive who made it happen.

Reviewed by  Tony Simpson, Honiton