Deborah Warner’s staging of Richard II with Fiona Shaw as the king stirred up a significant critical controversy when it was presented in 1995 at the National Theatre, and then later in Salzburg and Paris. Among those who recognised its originality and strengths was the critic Paul Taylor who praised the ‘gripping, lucidly felt production’ and Fiona Shaw’s ‘dazzlingly disconcerting… deliberately uncomfortable, compelling performance.’
For the screen version, Deborah Warner and production designer Hildegard Bechtler re-imagined Richard II as an innovative drama that was shot over a fortnight using film techniques. Playing alongside Fiona Shaw is a distinguished cast including Donald Sinden (Duke of York), Richard Bremmer (Henry Bolingbroke), Julian Rhind-Tutt (Duke of Aumerle), Kevin McKidd (Harry Percy) and Paola Dionisotti (Duchess of York).
A sumptuous and startling television film, this Richard II offers a unique interpretation of Shakespeare’s tale of a monarch’s downfall.