Shakespeare's account of the deformed, devious usurper to England's throne runs the longest of the history plays, coming in just slightly shorter than Hamlet
. Zombie Joe's version, Shakespeare's Richard III
, edited and directed by Denise Devin, pares the tale to its most salacious bits in a breathlessly plotted, hourlong production. From Richard's snarling opening monologue, the action charges ahead at a breakneck pace, with several castmates doubling or tripling in the minor roles. This is Shakespeare for the very busy, and for those who like their Bard with a helping of humor and horror. From Richard's (W. Lochridge O'Bryan) casual handling of Hastings' (Tyler McAuliffe) detached head to the aggressively corporal spirits who shriek "Despair, and die!" on the eve of his ousting, the evil is satisfying if not particularly subtle. O'Bryan gives a delicious performance as the humpbacked, villainous king, who disposes of brothers, nephews, friends and wife on his grim ascent to the throne. Richard's coffin-side seduction of Lady Anne (Anna Gillcrist) crackles with lust, while his later entreaties to Queen Elizabeth (Sarah Fairfax) to marry her daughter, his niece, disgust with their attendant creepiness. Devin keeps a tight rein on the production, though a few more beats would give these scenes the rest they deserve.
Fridays, 8:30 p.m.; Sundays, 7 p.m. Starts: May 10. Continues through June 16, 2013