I've been on a sort of a theatre kick the last six months or so, and, honestly, Martin Freeman in Richard III is the best thing I've seen on stage this year. He'a phenomenal actor who splendidly portrays Richard as simultaneously despicable and yet charismatic and even witty. Gina McKee shines as Queen Elizabeth and Maggie Steed is glorious as the oft-omitted Queen Margaret. The rest of the cast are equally brilliant and I was particularly impressed with Jo Stone-Fewings playing Buckingham.
The staging and the production are brilliant. Kudos to Jamie Lloyd for daring to be edgy and setting the play during the Winter of Discontent in 1979; bringing the play to modern day only underscores Shakespeare's genius in making his work have relevance even today. It captures perfectly the horrors of Richard's bloody ascent to the throne and presents them to audience explicitly. And although I've heard several criticisms of the blood and gore in the production, this is precisely why the blood works so well, especially for a work where the murders traditionally take place off-stage.
Even days later, I am still thinking about how excellent the production was and I will probably try to see it again on one of Trafalgar Studios' £15 Mondays. Which, by the way, is a much-needed scheme designed to encourage younger audiences and first-time theatre-goers. It would be great if more theatres made their productions accessible to a broader audience.