Review: Richard, My Richard

Forget everything you thought you knew about Richard III.  

Richard, My Richard is a brand-new play written by Phillipa Gregory, a first for this amazing author who is more well known for her incredible historical novels.  Phillipa explains in the programme, that a lot of what we are led to believe about Richard III comes from William Shakespeare, and unsurprisingly his portrayal of King Richard was of a villain with a hunch back as he was writing to entertain Elizabeth I and her Tudor family.  After all, Richard seen as a loyal family man who had many successes in battle would not have gone down well in a Tudor court…

The Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds is transformed in to the ‘round’ for this fantastic play.  We first meet Richard as he bursts up from the Leicester City Car Park where he has laid for 100s of years, believing that he is still living.  He soon meets History, who proceeds to tell the dead king that he is remembered as one of the greatest villains, that he killed the princes in the tower and that Richard was in fact a monster of a man.  

Richard, of course disagrees and proceeds to tell his own story.  How he was in fact loyal to his brother, that he married for love and he knows nothing about the death of his young nephews.

Richard, My Richard is extremely well written as you would expect being penned by Phillipa. The story is brilliantly brought to life in the most wonderful way with imaginative use of simple staging and lighting effects.   

The story is told by a cast of very strong actors. Tom Kanji plays History incredibly well and is perfectly cast. He takes the audience back in time to the War of the Roses in such a believable way, you really feel like you are a fly on the wall listening in to what really happened.

And, Kyle Rowe makes for the perfect Richard and is spot on with his portrayal of this most famous character.   

Phillipa Gregory is known for writing about the women of history and this production continues this theme, and includes all of the strong female characters that were at court and who shaped Richard’s life.

So, was Richard III an evil man, set to do anything to become monarch, including murdering his own family? Or, was he a loyal family man, very much in love with his wife and it was just circumstances that brought him to the throne?  You decide…

Richard, My Richard, tells a different side to the story, using what we know about the time to create another point of view.  However, ultimately Richard III took many of those secrets to the grave with him…

Richard, My Richard is an amazing piece of theatre and I really hope that Phillipa Gregory writes another play soon.  Her books are wonderful, seeing her characters come to life is something very special indeed.   This production really is a must see.

Richard, My Richard is at the Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds until 27th April.  To book tickets contact the Box Office at or call 01284 769505

Review: Wendy Cook, Ipswich24 Magazine