Theatre review: Richard III, St Bride’s Centre

EVENING News Drama Award winners The Grads are basking in the spotlight at the moment.

One of the eight amateur theatre groups featured in the Sky Arts series Nation’s Best Am Dram last week, they are also the winners of the 2012 Evening News Drama Award for their production of Nobody Will Ever Forgive Us, by Paul Higgins.

The Grads return to the stage this week in William Shakespeare’s historic tragedy, Richard III.

For the production, The Grads – Edinburgh Graduate Theatre Group, to give them their Sunday title – will take up residence in St Bride’s Community Centre, Orwell Terrace.

Directed by David Grimes, the action of the piece finds the country moving from war to peace as Richard watches his brother ascend to the throne of England and determines to seize the crown.

Navigating an imposing assembly of some of Shakespeare’s greatest female characters, Richard revels in every moment of his 
homicidal rise to absolute domination.

But when tyrannical power takes hold of a state, who dares challenge the regime?

The second longest of Shakespeare’s works, it is believed to have been written around 1591 and first performed in November 1633, when Charles I and Queen Henrietta Maria watched it on the Queen’s birthday.

Richard III is the latest in a number of the Bard’s plays to be tackled by The Grads.

Founded in 1954 by former members of the University Dramatic Society, The Grads are now a 64-strong group (although not all appear in next week’s production).

Today there’s an open invitation to anyone to join, not just former students.

Regulars at the Fringe Festival, the group received a commendation in the Evening News Drama Awards in 2007 before achieving their first win earlier this year.

• Orwell Terrace, 7.30pm, Wednesday-Saturday, £10, 0131-473 2000