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Bridgerton’s Jonathan Bailey to play Richard II on London stage | Theatre

Bridgerton star Jonathan Baillie will play Richard II in Nicholas Hytner’s new production of Shakespeare’s history play at London’s Bridge Theatre.

The production reteams Bayley with Hytner, who played Cassio in the National Theatre’s 2013 version of Othello. Bayley also played Edgar in Ian McKellan’s King Lear at Chichester Festival Theatre in 2017. But the role of King Plantagenet will be Bayley’s highest-profile Shakespeare role to date, who is best known for playing Lord Anthony Bridgerton in the hit Netflix period drama. Performances begin at the Bridge on February 10.

Shakespeare’s Richard II asks the question, “What do you do when you have a totally unfit ruler? How do you remove a legitimate leader?” Heitner says. The play has Shakespearean ambiguity and “doesn’t speak for itself,” Heitner says. “On the one hand, it seems to endorse Richard’s right to rule, and on the other hand, it seems to endorse Richard’s right to rule.” [his adversary] It speaks to “Bolingbroke’s ability to govern,” he said, and the work will reveal “a feudal world on the brink of modernization.”

Photo: Jason Bell

Designed by Bob Crowley, the play will be performed in what Hytner describes as “somewhere between in-the-round and traverse,” with a bridge bringing the audience closer to the actors rather than the immersive promenade style of Hytner’s “Julius Caesar” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” “Richard II has too much sensitivity and interiority to respond to that kind of treatment,” he said, adding that the theatre, which opened beside Tower Bridge in 2017, is a highly flexible space.

Richard II will run at the theatre from March 2023, following Guys and Dolls, which plays its final performance on January 4. “We never expected it to last this long,” Hytner said, explaining that the acclaimed musical’s long run has given the theatre “a bit of financial stability.” He wanted to stage a musical in the same spirit as Julius Caesar and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. “Guys and Dolls was the right choice for that kind of treatment because it has a big, powerful heart and a connection that speaks directly to the audience and allows them to immediately invest in the piece.”

The Bridge is the flagship venue for the London Theatre Company, founded by Hytner and Nick Starr; its other venue is The Lightroom in Kings Cross. Immersive David Hockney Exhibition It will now be performed again in conjunction with a multimedia experience about the Apollo moon landings, and eventually will host live performances. “The very long-term plan is to turn it into a theatre, but it’s going really well and there are lots of plans for that,” he said. [multimedia] “I don’t know when that will be, but that’s what will happen,” Heitner said.