Monday, July 09, 2012

The Hollow Crown: Richard II

Like a good girl, I have been re-reading each of the history plays that make up BBC 2's Hollow Crown series - Richard II through to Henry V - before each week's broadcast. My much-handled and tattered copy of Richard II, which saw me through both school and college provided me with many hours of simple, wholesome entertainment: my notes, highlighted lines, biographical lists, dates, obssessive lineage making etc.

Also, at some point while studying Richard II, I seem to have read Heyer's My Lord John with fangirly attention, because (and this makes me blush slightly) the first time John of Gaunt makes an appearance, I have scribbled Belsire! next to his name. Yes, with the exclamation.

So watching Richard II turned out to be easier to do than watching Saturday's Henry IV Part I, for reasons I won't go into (which is to say, I haven't even begun watching Henry IV Part I).

 Ben Whishaw was just simply brilliant. I loved watching the expressions flicker across his face as he decided from moment to moment who he wanted to play - he was a total drama queen, totally hypnotic. For the rest, I thought there were several nice touches (the St. Sebastian portrait, the monkey in the joust scene, the general campiness of the courtiers) but I disapproved of the decision to make Aumerle Richard's assassin, instead of the play's Exton.

Hope I manage to watch Henry IV Part I today; have just watched about five minutes of it and was pleased with the intercutting between King and Hal, but more on that film later.

For entertainment, please read Hello, tailor on Richard II (and thereafter the Henry post, if you wish). Also (I need hardly say this any more, I feel) Supriya's Hollow Crown posts are lovely.

Can I just say: I am really enjoying the Shakespeare re-read. Can't think why I don't do this once a year.


km said...

Can't think why I don't do this once a year.

Because "Titus Andronicus", that's why.

Feanor said...

they're showing this in desh? it's shakespeare season on the bbc, and we're getting all sorts of programmes on the man. there was a 3-parter by james shapiro on shakespeare and king james, the politics and drama of the time, based on his book 1599. then jeremy irons did a round-up of shakespeare's henrys vs the historical ones. all good fun, i think.