A Chester theatre company commemorated the 400th year of Shakespeare’s death by staging a modern take of one of the playwright’s productions.
The Bard of Avon is believed to have died on his birthday, April 23, in his native Stratford-upon-Avon in 1616 and 400 years on, his most famous works including Othello, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet continue to sell out today.
Following a complete sell out of the play at Theatr Clwyd in Mold in July, Heirs of Banquo Productions teamed up with Soundwall to perform the show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe last month before their Chester performance.
The Heirs of Banquo’s take on Richard III explores the abiding problem of tyranny rising in failed states including Syria, Mexico and Somalia and the amoral plot of Richard of Gloucester, played by actor Jed Birch.
Driven by hatred and a boundless lust for power, Richard stops at nothing to achieve superiority.
Director of Heirs of Banquo Productions, Catherine Harrison, said: “Richard III is one of Shakespeare’s more difficult plays.
“Our hour-long version preserved the Shakespearean language, and provided a narrative gloss which meant the story was more accessible.”
CMT managing director Cally Thomas said: “Chester Music Theatre was delighted to host Soundwall and Richard III.
“Shakespeare is the most precious jewel in English literature, and staging a Shakespeare 400 event here meant his work continues to reach people today.”
Actor Jed Birch said: “In Edinburgh, several audience members told me they had come to see a rock band, Soundwall, but found themselves watching and loving the Shakespeare as well.”
Next year, the Heirs of Banquo said they plan to stage Shakespeare’s masterpiece Macbeth, to highlight the parallels and similarities in the 15 years which separate them.