R 3, a Gothic Tale | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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R 3, a Gothic Tale

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R 3, A GOTHIC TALE, Theo Ubique Theatre Company, at Bailiwick Repertory. Adapter Mark A. Vadik takes a Jungian approach to Richard III--a "compound of charm and terror," as Harold Bloom describes him. In Vadik and Jason Palmer's goth staging, Richard (Ron Kuzava) is literally two-faced: Helen Manasses plays his smooth, Eddie Haskell side--his Anima--while J. Scott plays the ferocious id of his nihilistic Animus. Kuzava combines these aspects in a somewhat bumbling, eager-to-please persona with a short fuse.

The supporting performances are uneven, though Lori Garrabrant and Carolyn Wright do what they can to give a sorrowful dignity to the problematic roles of Queen Elizabeth and Lady Anne. The first-act scene where Anne is "wooed" by Richard as she weeps over the corpse of her husband dovetails nicely with her second-act death at his hands during sex. This production seems mostly interested in exploring the Eros/Thanatos tensions of the original, but Vadik's industrial soundscape and Amanda Giangiulio's fetish costumes sometimes threaten to push the production into camp, undermining the story's darker strains. Still, Vadik's script is smart and streamlined, and the high-energy ensemble delivers an enjoyable portrait of Shakespeare's malevolent "shadow in the sun," destroyed by his own bloodlust.

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