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Richard III


Nottingham Playhouse Programme for Richard III

Particularly unedifying front cover of the Nottingham Playhouse production of Richard III - image thanks to Leonard Rossiter.com

With all the current interest in the re-internment of King Richard III I'm reminded if my own little 'brush' with this monarch and my unique opportunity of coming face to face with him before literally stitching him up.

In the 1970s, the late great Leonard Rossiter played the eponymous hero (or anti-hero knowing Shakespeare's allegiance to the Tudors and his slight 'skewing' of historical facts) in Richard III at the Nottingham Playhouse. At the time I was lucky enough to be employed as the Saturday Stage Door keeper (and what a dream job it was!). Mr. Rossiter occupied the star dressing room at one end of the long corridor and I occupied the cramped booth at the other. The 'Green Room', stairs to the Front of House and the actual stage entrance were all that separated me from the 'great and good.'

It was the Saturday matinee and the play had commenced; all was quiet backstage, and I settled to read my book when I heard a resounding 'You there!' I didn't really take any notice as the actors often did vocal exercises in the corridor prior to their stage entrances. The second time I heard those words I looked up and there was Richard III in his sky blue and yellow striped costume staring at me, his pose beseeching, belying the stature and menace in his voice as he tried to catch my attention. 'Look,' the apparition said, waving a cap, with fraying seams at me 'look' he said again. I picked up the phone and said to him 'I'll ring Wardrobe and let them know.'

Leonard Rossiter as Richard III

The cap and bodice as I remember them - pale yellow and sky blue - image thanks to Leonard Rossiter.com

He looked at me askance (the hump and twisted stance making him look even more disturbing) and quite solemnly, without the slightest hint of the impatience he obviously felt said very clearly 'You're a woman aren't you? You can use needle and thread?' - not quite yet a woman, but a needle and thread I most certainly could and did use to stitch up that cap to ensure the timely entrance, properly attired, of his most sovereign majesty Richard III when his cue was announced over the backstage tannoy.

Richard III Revived

I know, I know, I'm becoming the resident Hucknall eccentric! Guess what - they printed my letter on Good Friday (3rd April 2015)!

It's nice to be published but those spelling errors below the picture are appalling AND I was never a stage hand!

Not being able to help myself, I also published this on Facebook as I was reminded that cats can look Kings in the face :

It is said a cat may look upon a king :

"Some hear and see him whom he heareth nor seeth not
But fields have eyes and woods have ears, ye wot
And also on my maids he is ever tooting.
Can ye judge a man, (quoth I), by his looking?
What, a cat may look on a king, ye know!
My cat's leering look, (quoth she), at first show,
Showeth me that my cat goeth a caterwauling;
And specially by his manner of drawing
To Madge, my fair maid."


Here is our Tinkerbelle gazing upon the article I wrote for fun (but true) as all the hoopla concerning Richard III was going on which was published in today's Hucknall Dispatch

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