REVIEWS





WATERSHIP DOWN



The Watermill, Newbury
16th June - 23rd July, 2016



It is an immensly physical staging, brimful with playfulness and energy. It is tremendous fun and compelling to watch.


...their journey to Watership Down is hazardous. Thankfully, they have the strong and cunning Bigwig, strikingly portrayed by Richard James-Neale, to protect them.


A must see production.



Their camaraderie, loyalty and courage in adversity were based on [author Richard] Adams' war time experience with the Royal Army Service Corps. Hazel's (James Backway) natural leadership during their life or death struggle to reach safety, Bigwig's (Richard James-Neale) courage and principle, and Blackavaar's (Jess Murphy) suffering and forbearance were beautifully realised.





OTHELLO



Frantic Assembly, UK Tour
4th October, 2014 - 7th February, 2015



Often Cassio and Roderigo, two of the many pawns in Iago’s plotting, can get overlooked and reduced to caricatures but I found the respective performances from Ryan Fletcher and Richard James-Neale thrilling and multi-dimensional.



The modern setting and northern accents of the cast in no way hinder the language of the piece. On the contrary, in such skilled hands, these characters become discernible, accessible beings that the audience can identify with. Ryan Fletcher and Richard James-Neale as Cassio and Roderigo respectively employ their accents with dexterity and an ease that highlights the strengths of the adaptation.


The entire cast make this production, individually and as an ensemble, giving understandable and relatable performances in a fresh interpretation of the play.



Due credit should go to Nicola Kavanagh’s Bianca and Richard James-Neale’s Roderigo... James-Neale’s performance is a very natural one – he takes to the character effortlessly and his bumbling demeanour evokes the tragic fool character perfectly.


The production’s use of dialect works incredibly well to make the often cumbersome Shakespearean language much more accessible. [Roderigo's] famous line, ‘an old black ram is tupping your white ewe’ also teased a few laughs out of the audience.



The cast convince as cocksure young men, up for a fight and a feel of the girls if they get the chance. Ryan Fletcher (Cassio) and Steven Miller's Iago are strong, Richard James-Neale's Roderigo is a compact bundle of trouble and Kirsty Oswald a sympathetic Desdemona.



A chavtastic portrayal of Roderigo by Richard James-Neale, with quirky vocal mannerisms and ineffectual bombast – extremely effective.





A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM



Tooting Arts Club, Broadway Studios
13th August - 7th September, 2013



Waleed Elgadi particularly leads from the front as a commanding, vengeful Oberon, aided and abetted by Richard James-Neale’s Puck, an unusually spiteful, white-faced court clown decked-out, startlingly amongst the modern dress, in Elizabethan hose and codpiece.



Richard James-Neale's punkish Puck is a whirling, physical presence sowing mischief wherever he goes in a performance that fizzes with energy and acrobatic skill. If you can find him, as he clambers about in among the old manufacturing units and courtyards on which the show is staged, you can't take your eyes off him.





ROMEO AND JULIET



Shakespeare's Globe & Middle East Tour
19th February - 5th March, 2013



Richard James-Neale was outstanding as Mercutio, capturing the larger-than-life swagger and volatile temper of Romeo's close companion with aplomb.





CHARLOTTE'S WEB



Birmingham Stage Company, Derby Theatre
7th December, 2012 - 12th January, 2013



Naturally, it’s Wilbur and Charlotte who take centre stage and they are beautifully drawn by Richard James-Neale and Claire Redcliffe respectively. His facial expressions and movements make Wilbur instantly lovable, while she brings out Charlotte’s quiet dignity. It’s a suitably touching friendship that is the beating heart of this show.



Richard James-Neale has just the right amount of wide-eyed wonder and sometimes piggy panic in his winning portrayal of Wilbur.



The whole cast throw themselves into the production and their effervescence shines throughout. Richard James-Neale is warm and affecting as Wilbur, stamping his mark on the role with a strange, almost deformed walk and a protruding backside.





ROMEO AND JULIET



Pilot Theatre Company, UK Tour
10th September, 2010 - 9th April, 2011



The conflict between the swaggering Mercutio (Chris Lindon) and the fiery Tybalt (Richard James-Neale), who also plays the tattooed hippy Friar Lawrence, was electric.



The standout performance was definitely Richard James-Neale’s Tybalt and Friar Lawrence. His energy and ability to portray character perfectly meant that whenever he took the stage he shone above all the others.





WHISPERING HAPPINESS



Box of Tricks, Tristan Bates Theatre
9th June - 4th July, 2009



There are some lovely moments... notable mentions go to Richard James-Neale's Simon - his angst encoded in every nuance - and James Maclaughlan's Pirsg whose intriguing persona commands every scene. Thought provoking.



Richard James-Neale brings Simon's fury of rejection by society vividly to life.





OTHELLO



Frantic Assembly, UK Tour
6th - 22nd November, 2008



The cast by and large handle the verse intelligently, and it's engaging to hear it delivered in strong regional accents (think Billy Elliott speaking pentameter). Richard James-Neale's Roderigo and Leila Crerar's Emilia, in particular sew the language and some very contemporary intentations and physicality together skillfully.





A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM



Ludlow Castle
24th June - 8th July, 2006



In its familiarity, this play is not without its challenges and The Mechanicals can be risibly embarrassing. Happily, this is not the case. As Bottom, Matthew Devitt is superb, with excellent vocal range, faultless timing and the instinct of a fine actor for solo and ensemble playing. During some scenes, thanks to some very good original visual gags, the audience weeps with laughter. The play scene in particular will not have raised such uncontrollable and un-embarrassed laughter for years. It is a gem from all participants.


A talented group of young actors.



The other players - John Cockerill as Flute, Ian Harris as Snug, Richard James-Neale as Snout, Tom Jude as Starveling and Daniel Leatherdale as Quince - were perfect foils for Bottom and brought out the comedy to maximum effect.





MOUNTVIEW WEST END SHOWCASE



Criterion Theatre
29th March, 2006



The real focus should not be taken away from the main element the showcase - drama. Not that watching such quality, tense pieces as that from 'A Single Act' (by Jane Bodie) with Sarah Cromarty and Richard James-Neale in a rather curious stand off over a pet rabbit in a box, would allow you to soon forget that side of this production. As the fur starts to fly over the rabbit - named Stu by James-Neale's worryingly dark persona, the tag as he kicks it into the wings was brutally effective and cruelly clinical - two students working well together and without nerves.


'Experts Choice' - Richard James-Neale, Henry Maynard and Victoria Bell (Fiona Keddie - Keddie Scott Associates)