David Tennant’s Richard II will be the star attraction in the RSC’s just launched winter season – and he’ll be coming to a London venue few could have predicted. After almost 20 years of estrangement and a considerable amount of what new RSC boss Gregory Doran called ‘bad blood’, the RSC will to taking ‘Richard II’ to the company’s former London home the Barbican.
The RSC has struggled to find a London foothold since former artistic director Adrian Noble quit the Barbican; while ‘Richard II’ currently stands as a one off, Doran seemed reluctant to rule out a permanent return for the company. The Tennant-starring play – which comes to London Dec 9-Jan 25 – is the only London transfer in Doran’s maiden season. However, one assumes the planned adaptations of Hilary Mantel’s blockbuster ‘Wolf Hall’ and ‘Bringing Up the Bodies’ will be heading our way if they’re any cop.
Several elements of Doran’s vision for the company – not least the return to the Barbican – seemed intended to bring the company back in line with the pre-Adrian Noble area, rather than build on the work of Doran’s predecessor Michael Boyd. But there’s the exciting prospect of a revival for the company’s lately dismal new writing programme, with newly appointed deputy artistic director Erica Whyman promising that we’ll see some ‘radical mischief’.
Meanwhile, Doran – who will be directing ‘Richard II’ himself – praised star Tennant, in particular his effortless verse speaking.
‘Richard II’ runs at the Barbican Dec 9-Jan 25 and tickets go on sale on March 1; see below for an interview with Tennant about the role…