Martin Freeman to Play Shakespeare’s Richard III in London This Summer

MartinFreeman by bellaphon.jpg

Martin Freeman (Photo: Bellaphon on Flicker)
Well, it looks like Benedict Cumberbatch won’t be the only member of the Sherlock cast who will be treading the boards of the West End during the show’s hiatus.

It was recently confirmed that Cumberbatch will be performing Shakespeare’s Hamlet at the Barbican Theatre beginning in August of 2015. And now, hot on the heels of that particular bombshell of awesomeness comes the news that his co-star Martin Freeman has signed up to play the Bard’s doomed king Richard III.

He will join a long list of distinguished actors who have tackled Shakespeare’s villainous hunchback in recent memory, including Mark Rylance, Kevin Spacey and Sir Ian McKellen, among many others.

The production is slated to run this summer from July 1 – September 27 in London as part of the second season of Trafalgar Studios “Trafalgar Transformed” series.  Last season the theater featured James McAvoy in Macbeth, John Simm and Simon Russell Beale in a production of Harold Pinter’s The Hothouse and Matthew Horne in The Pride.

Director Jamie Lloyd announced Freeman’s involvement via Twitter: 

No other casting decisions for Richard III have been made as yet. 

This production marks Freeman’s first stage royal since his performance Bruce Norris’s play Clybourne Park at the Royal Court in 2010. Since he’s generally known as an actor for playing affable, everyman types like John from Sherlock and Tim from the British version of The Office, it should be quite interesting to see him tackle one of the most villainous roles in all of theater. (Personally, I’m a bit of a Richard III apologist, but Shakespeare most certainly was not.)

Apropos of nothing - how many trips to London can a girl justify within a year-long period? Asking for a friend.