Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Cleveland & Akron

Richard III
Hanna Theatre

David Anthony Smith and Lynn Robert Berg
Tragedy or history or another category brings Shakespeare's Richard III to the stage for a spectacular production by the Great Lakes Theater. The script is difficult to produce even with a little nip and tuck by Joseph Hanreddy, the director. The large cast struts the stage hoping to not be murdered by the final scene.

Lynn Robert Berg is a magnificent Richard III—cruel, ambitious and mean. He displays qualities that seem bred into a villain. But he kills and lies with such charm and a bit of wit that I found myself completely taken with him and looking forward to his next appearance on stage.

Richard III is helped in his campaign for the throne by the Duke of Buckingham, played by David Anthony Smith. He wears his ambition and greed on his sleeve for all to see and grovels before Richard. Once on the throne, Richard casts this well-oiled friend under the bus.

The second part of the performance, the section following the one intermission, is the battle scene, and this is the best battle I've seen on a stage. The stage (maybe the theatre) rocked with explosions and gun shots. Smoke filled the air on stage, yet never poured into the audience.

Ken Merckx (Fight Choreographer) designed the fights and battle. He has placed the battle on the stage, in the theater's aisles, and in the back of the theater. I was surrounded. In the last portion of the production he has staged an exceptionally threatening battle.

Linda Buchanan (Scenic Designer) created a high-tech set constructed of metal frames and plastic walls. On both sides of the stage, metal stairs lead to a stage-wide platform (all the better for overhearing). At each death, the murdered one walks up stage, past an attendant holding a large tub. Queen Margaret, on the platform above the action, pours blood from a bucket down to the tub below.

Martha Hally (Costume Designer) has dressed the cast in 1960s style costumes. The men wear suits, ties and well-polished shoes. The women wear tight skirts, usually a close fitting suit, spiked-heel shoes, and, often, hats.

In truth, when Richard speaks those famous words "A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse," he is carrying a military style rifle and would not have known what to do with a horse if it had walked onto the stage. But his spirit and interpretation are correct. Joseph Hanreddy, the director, has brought a flawless production of a difficult play to the stage. The only thing I could want from this production would be another pair of tickets so that I can see Richard III again.

Great Lakes Theater is offering its public a superb performance of a rarely produced play.

Richard III shares the stage with another bloody production, Sweeney Todd. The two shows play through November 3, 2013. For ticket information, contact 216-664-6064 or visit

Richard III
By: William Shakespeare
King Edward IV: Darren Matthias
Duchess of York: Lenne Snively
Edward, Prince of Wales: Jodi Dominick
Richard, Duke of York: Lucy Anders
Elizabeth of York: Clare Howes Eisentrout
Queen Elizabeth: Sara M. Bruner
Lord Rivers, Anthony Woodville: M. A. Taylor
Lord Grey: Chris Cowan
Marquess of Dorset: Zach Adkins
George, Duke of Clarence: J. Todd Adams
Richard, Duke of Gloucester: Lynn Robert Berg
Queen Margaret: Laurie Birmingham
Lady Anne: Laura Welsh Berg
Lord Hastings, Lord Chamberlain: Tom Ford
Lord Stanley: David McCann
The Bishop of Ely: Eric Damon Smith
Lord Mayor of London: Mark G. Hawbecker
Sir Robert Brakenbury: Mark G. Hawbecker
Henry, Earl of Richmond: Alex Syiek
Duke of Buckingham: David Anthony Smith
Sir Richard Ratcliffe: Darren Matthias
Sir William Catesby: J. Todd Adams
Murderers: Chris Richards and Eric Damon Smith
Duke of Norfolk: Mark G. Hawbecker
Sir James Blunt: Chris Richards
All other Roles: Company
Director: Joseph Hanreddy
Scenic Designer: Linda Buchanan
Costume Designer: Martha Hilly
Lighting Designer: Michael Chybowski
Sound Designers: Rob Milburn and Michael Bodeen
Fight Choreographer: Ken Merckx
assistant Lighting Designer: Cynthia Stillings

Photo: Roger Mastroianni

- David Ritchey

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