Dickie gets a bad rap. Sure he murdered two kids (what monarch hasn’t) and maneuvered a whole host of folk into getting their heads chopped off, but in the two years of his rule he opened collages, protected the poor, balanced the budget, and was as fair and decent a family man as you could get for the late medieval period. And yet it is as villain and tyrant, lecher and bully that Richard The Third is best remembered and indeed best loved. Boise’s protean Shakespeare Company, taking to the baseboards and some mardi gras beads, give us a fun ride into the tale checkers master of Shakespearian politics.

Our Richard, Chris Canfield, limps his way into our hearts. His connection to the audience, faced paced and exuberant, puts one in mind of an astrophysicist of evil on an Apollo 13 type film: can we do this, maybe we can do this, yes we can do this! Against other characters, like Lady Anne ( steely-eyed Emily Broglia), Queen Elizabeth (Jeni Montzka, who doubles as her nebbish honor the Mayor of London) and the crabbed but knife sharp Margaret (Julia Bennet) his manner cools his tone crips and killing iron creeps into his words.

The duels, of words and blades, are well rendered, feinting from side to side without giving away their end, the leverage and alliances sprightly presented, and we get the rare gift of a decent Earl of Richmond (Dakotah Brown) so political a character that the bard gave him a love of G-d and country and ditched him without any other defining features to fight across Bosworth field.

Originally posted on Facebook by Ben Kemper on April 23, 2019. Ben is a local actor and storyteller in Boise, Idaho.