Strawdog Theatre’s new cutting of “Richard III” transplants the ruthless, crook-backed King into a stylish contemporary dynasty, made up of a sharply dressed upper crust with a hint of Mafia undertones in their dagger-concealing crisp suits. But while this production is heavy on fashion, its woefully lacking in passion. With the exception of a few energetic bursts, the performances on the whole feel lethargic, the actors almost disinterested in the juicy lamentations they are given to utter. One such exception is Janet Ulrich Brooks, who makes the most of this deliciously grisly material as Margaret—but when she bursts in with her crazed and vengeful rant, the intensity seems misplaced, as though she was transplanted from a different production of the play. While this cast has a firm grasp on the language, keeping the story clear and accessible throughout, and the brute force of Miles Polaski’s wonderfully menacing sound design commands fervency at every scene break, the fire just didn’t ignite. (Valerie Jean Johnson)
At Strawdog Theatre, 3829 N. Broadway, (773)525-6797. This production is now closed.