Richard III, Shakespeare & Company

Founders’ Theatre, Lenox, Mass.
July 2 – September 5, 2010

As King Edward IV, with Tod Randolf as Queen Elizabeth (PHOTO: Kevin Sprague)

As the Lord Mayor of London, with John Douglas Thompson as Richard III, Bill Barclay as Ratcliffe, Nigel Gore as Buckingham, and Josh Aaron McCabe as Catesby (PHOTO: Kevin Sprague)

As Captain Blunt, with John Douglas Thompson as Richard III (PHOTO: Kevin Sprague)

Critical Response

“This play is studded with theatrical talent: . . . Johnny Lee Davenport as the ineffective King Edward but slipping boisterously into that of the Mayor and other roles. . .”
—Frances Benn Hall, (July 9, 2010)

“Best among the men in the show are Nigel Gore as Duke of Buckingham, Josh Aaron McCabe as Catesby, Ryan Winkles as Tyrrel, Johnny Lee Davenport as the Lord Mayor of London and Robert Biggs as Lord Stanley.”
Peter Bergman Theatre Reviews (July 10, 2010)

“In the second act, Richard enters the theatre from the back of the audience, accompanied by the Lord Mayor of London, played by the equally charismatic Johnny Lee Davenport. Here those of us watching are encouraged to chant and cheer, supporting Richard’s quest for the throne, and the two move down the aisle, smiling and shaking hands with us as he passes. It underscored the point that, in the end, Richard was a politician. A ruthless, deadly politician.”
—Larry Murray, Berkshire On Stage (July 10, 2010)

Johnny Lee Davenport, regal yet doomed as the ailing Edward IV, makes great cachet out of his role as the Lord Mayor of London, a back-slapping, audience waving, hand shaking politician whose cluelessness serves Richard’s purposes well.  He probably could have asked for donations for his fall’s elections and received some.”
—Andrew Beck, The Hartford Examiner (July 12, 2010)

Johnny Lee Davenport plays two roles: a regal and commanding king and a real politico as the Lord Mayor of London. The entire cast is excellent, from John Douglas Thompson in the title role to the two youngsters who play the princes sent to the Tower.”
—Lesley Ann Beck, Berkshire Living (July 13, 2010)

“The Lord Mayor of London (played to full unctuosity by the preening Johnny Lee Davenport, to single out just one of the many excellent supporting performances in this production), whips the citizens—the audience—into a chant of ‘Long Live Richard, England’s Royal King.’ The audience does clap and chant with enthusiasm as the soon-to-be-crowned Richard enters.”
—James Yeara, Metroland (July 15, 2010)

“In a real vuvuzela moment Jonathan Croy, director of Shakespeare and Company’s ‘King Richard III,” has the audience, as stand-ins for the people of London, chanting ‘Rich-ARD, Rich-ARD.’ The mayor of London, played charmingly by Johnny Lee Davenport, and Lord Buckingham, Richard’s sidekick, are trying to whip up public enthusiasm for the murderous Richard’s ascendance to the throne.”
—Harriet F. Bergmann, Berkshire Record (July 16-22, 2010)

Johnny Lee Davenport adds a bit of humor to his role as Mayor of London (as well as King Edward IV).”
—Bob Goepfert, The Troy Record (July 22, 2010)

“We suddenly have Johnny Lee Davenport (a fine actor who had behaved perfectly sensibly in his earlier cameo as the dying Edward IV) gladhanding his way through the crowd, waving and clapping and ginning up a forced stadium-style chant for the new king.
—Louise Kennedy, Boston Globe (July 20, 2010)

Johnny Lee Davenport as King Edward/[Lord Mayer of London]/Blunt brought some unexpected humor to the proceedings. As he put it after the show, ‘The levity is there. You can’t find tragedy without the humor.’”
—Susan Miron, The Arts Fuse (July 24, 2010)

“Thompson is surrounded by strong players, some of whom—such as Johnny Lee Davenport, Robert Biggs and Ryan Winkles—play multiple roles.”
—Michael Eck, The Times Union Albany (July 30, 2010)

“Contributing mightily to the humor [are] the scenes that poke not-so-subtle fun at the gullibility of humankind and how politicians/monarchs have reaped the benefits of our sheepish herd mentality. Johnny Lee Davenport is an able assistant in these scenes as the Lord Mayor of London.”
—Gail M. Burns, Berkshire Theatre Reviews (July 2010)

“The mood swings between chilling urgency and circus barkering—the first epitomized by Elizabeth Ingram’s magisterial bag lady of a Queen Margaret flinging her guttural curses, the second by the way Nigel Gore’s ironical Buckingham and Johnny Lee Davenport’s huckstering Lord Mayor of London rally the audience, as if they were fans at a football game to persuade Richard to the crown.”
—Caroline Clay, Boston Phoenix (August 10, 2010)

“Richard’s various henchmen and victims also have may fine moments, with standouts including . . . Johnny Lee Davenport as Richard’s brother and also the Lord Mayor of London.”
—Elyse Sommer, Curtain Up (August 16, 2010)

“Mr. Croy wants us to be caught up in that fever too. He has Richard’s untrustworthy lieutenant, Buckingham (Nigel Gore), and the glad-handing mayor of London (Johnny Lee Davenport) whip up the audience like a crowd in a football stadium, begging Richard to ascend the throne.”
—Ben Brantley, The New York Times (August 23, 2010)

“Decades of working together pay off in ‘Richard III,’ as does the fact that several more charismatic Shakespeare & Company veterans—Jason Asprey, Elizabeth Ingram, Rocco Sisto, Tod Randoph, Johnny Lee Davenport, and Annette Miller—constitute the cast.”
—Helen Epstein, The Arts Fuse (August 24, 2010)

“From reading the play—till now we hadn’t seen Richard III on stage—we didn’t expect much humor, if any, in the show. But director Jonathan Croy made a highly effective comic episode . . . with an exhilarating Baynard’s Castle scene (Act III, scene 7) in which Josh Aaron McCabe, as Catesby, an exuberant Johnny Lee Davenport, as the Lord Mayor, and Nigel Gore, as Buckingham, brilliantly manipulated a mob (and the audience in the theater, appalled but laughing) into acclaiming Richard as their new king. The scene seemed to us the reverse image of Antony’s celebrated speech to the Romans in Julius Caesar. It was great theater.”
EMSWORTH: A Critical Eye on the Arts from Rochester (September 9, 2010)