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March 10, 2003


Drama Review

Richard 3

By Beryl Magilavy

I just saw such a fantastic performance Sunday that I am moved to take some action against the not-unlikely possibility that it may languish unseen in the wilds of Potrero Hill:

A spectacular example of virtuoso acting is on offer on Potrero Hill with L. Peter Callender's remarkable performance of Richard III (and an assassin) at The Thick House. He appears as part of a three-person ensemble who perform Shakespeare's play in modern dress, with minimal, but stylish and effective, sets by Rick Martin. Can this man act! Perfect diction makes the poetry not only understandable but moving and universal in its depiction of the baser human impulses that are unfortunately common in any era. Callender makes Richard believable while not lessening the repulsiveness of his murderous course. His physical acting is highly energetic and at times broadly comic, yet perfectly modulated: the performance never falls into caricature. Callender can even shout the lines "A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!" and make them sound new.

The small house, the smart audience, the overall terrific production directed by Tony Kelly make one cautiously hopeful that the vibrant local San Francisco theatre culture that seems to have died in recent years may be only a bit more difficult to find. Don't miss a knockout performance like this. They don't come along often.

Richard 3
Directed by Tony Kelly, with L. Peter Callender, Rodrigo Breton, and Selana Allen.
Plays at Thick Description, 18th and Carolina, until April 6th.

The Thick House (who thinks up these names?) is just two blocks south of that 18th Street corner with the pack of good restaurants, including one of the city's more pleasant bars: Lingba. It's connected to Thanya and Salee’s, a Thai restaurant that last night was offering beautiful little Nepalese girls dancing in traditional costume, along with a family-style meal. By the end of the evening I thought I had been transported back to the San Francisco of a livelier era.


[Editor’s note: Lingba has recently been the subject of a nighttime entertainment controversy, which appears to be heading toward a resolution that Terrence Alan, San Francisco Late Night Coalition Steering Committee Chair, says “may serve as a model for the EC (Entertainment Commission) as it hears contentious issues.]