the travesty of richard iii: The movie
There is a great contagion and all are lock-ed down!
This cheerful parody of Shakespeare's chilling tale jumped from stage to screen when the Covid 19 pandemic closed live venues. The two actors filmed themselves playing 13 characters - each in isolation without a director or crew. The result is a darkly comic tour de force of creative dedication. And editing.
'Tis a chilling tale...
A comical romp through Shakespeare’s dark and thrilling
tale of plots, prophecy and power.
Will one malevolent man succeed in his twisted scheme to seize England's Crown?
Spoiler alert: Yes.
It is the 15th Century and the never-ending Wars of the Roses are... well, ending. Lovely King Edward is jolly pleased about this as he isn't terribly well and can't bear shouty people. As he appeals to his loyal subjects to "love each other" in what ever way they fancy, his scheming brother, Richard Duke of Gloucester can only feign love and loyalty as his plan for domination takes shape...
Fans of William Shakespeare's The Tragedy of Richard III will recognise all their favourite goodies and baddies in this cheerfully comic retelling: scheming Richie, bewildered Lady Anne Neville, cursing booze-fiend Queen Margaret D’Anjou, addled Cicely Duchess of York, loyal but misguided Lord Buckingham and many more.
Expect modern language blended almost seamlessly with the original Shakespearean text - and a couple of cheery songs for good measure.
Ian Renshaw and Helen Manners
Ian and Helen founded The Culture Conspiracy in 2004 primarily to entertain the customers of the pub Ian was running until 2015. They went on to make online sketches and a frankly astonishing pop video, as well as touring fringe festivals with their play The Travesty of Richard III.
Their live show had been booked to appear at the 2020 Reading Fringe Festival. When Covid 19 struck, Reading Fringe took its festival online, inspiring Ian and Helen to rework their play as a film. It took five days each to film and three weeks of editing. Both learned a lot about the driving force of creativity in challenging circumstances!
After university Ian was a graphic designer for many years until he took on a pub from 2004 until 2015. He left the licensed trade to focus on acting and writing - since appearing in adult panto as various X-rated dames, in film and on CBBC's Andy and The Band. He plays fiddle in a UK Americana band and very much enjoys local craft ale and peanuts. All the peanuts.
Helen has worked as a freelance artist, writer and performer her whole life. Formerly a puppeteer, her work took her to UK carnivals and shows in Europe and Australia. For over a decade she has been tutoring and mentoring adults with learning difficulties in theatre arts. Helen's garden bench is where she relaxes for strong coffee, contemplation and creative musings.
Why Richard III?
In this video, Ian talks about how and why it all began. It's a chilling tale all of its own...
It's all fun with a green screen
Filming alone in lockdown, Ian and Helen essentially performed the whole stage play with the other actor missing. Subsequently they didn't always know where they should be looking. Or what they should be doing. Or saying.
Apart from a few royalty-free stock effects, all the sounds, themes, songs and incidental music were created and written for the show by Ian Renshaw. These are the principle three pieces (vocals Ian and Helen):
George, Duke of Clarence
Voice of Rufus the Court Dog
Lady Anne Neville
Queen Elizabeth (the one nobody's heard of)
Voices of the Princes in The Tower
Costume design and creation
Richard, Duke of Gloucester/Kind Richard III
Queen Margaret D'Anjou
King Edward IV
Cicely, Duchess of York
Prop and set design
Score, songs, theme and SFX
The Travesty of Richard III is produced by
in association with
The Travesty of Richard III received some cracking reviews as a stage play, but these are some of the positive comments specifically about the film version.
As someone who has never seen or read Shakespeare’s original production, I was left feeling as though I had a good grasp of the narrative and characters, which is a credit to the work done by Manners and Renshaw.
The Travesty of Richard III is overall a lighthearted, well-crafted and uproariously humorous production, and is definitely a must-see show!
Ali Muzaffar, Voicemag
I’m sure if Shakespeare were here he would congratulate this play/movie made for the Brighton Fringe 2021.
Daniel Donnelly, MumbleComedy.net
Brian Butler, GScene Magazine
Claudia Cartwright, Mole Valley Arts Alive Festival