The Porters of Hellsgate present “Richard II” at the Whitmore-Lindley Theatre. “Richard II” is one of Shakespeare’s more obscure histories; it has not drawn the attention that the “Henry IV” trilogy or perhaps his best known “Henry V.” However, “Richard II” stands on its own as it is written almost entirely in verse. There is a poetic quality; a vibrant rhythm contained in the story. It is a tragedy, as “Richard II” savors the role so completely that he is blind to the forces that want his crown more adamantly than he does.
The story of “Richard II” is how the flower of kingship can be so cruelly torn asunder. Richard II (a dynamic Thomas Bigley) loves being king. He is not a tyrant but so caught up in the pomp that he loses sight of his rule. Enter Henry Bollingbrook, (an outstanding Gus Krieger – fully utilized the natural timing of the script) whose sole desire is to be king. Henry is a force to be reckoned with. He gathers an army to challenge Richard, eventually deposing him. This is when it gets interesting. Richard is as much revealing deposed as he was as king. Unfortunately, he is still a threat and brutally murdered.
“Richard II” is a challenge for any production company. Director Charles Pasternak pulls it off admirably with a standard approach. Methinks that something oddly different would give the show more impact. The costumes by Jessica Pasternak were spectacular, and the staging was simple and lively. “Richard II” requires some diligence but the audience will be rewarded by such compelling storytelling.
“Richard II” shows at The Whitmore-Lindley Theatre Center
(11006 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91601) through May 31. For more information, call (310) 497-2884 or visit