The mantels are lined with bottles and wine glasses, the stage strewn with velvet lounges and gilded with dark wood panelling, a pair of ornamental Samurai swords on display. In front of shelves stacked with black marble busts hunches Richard, Duke of Gloucester – played by Kate Mulvany – in a black suit. She looks up at the audience and smiles.

Kate Mulvany and the cast of Bell Shakespeare’s  Richard 3. Photos © Prudence Upton

Peter Evans sets his production of Shakespeare’s Richard III in a single room. Anna Cordingley’s sets and costumes create an abstract space with nods to 1920s décor belied by a contemporary cordless phone and a television screen set in the wall. A refrain of dream-like party scenes weaves through the production, guests dance convulsively or shake cocktails while others move in slow motion in a surreal, choreographed debauch, characters moving through time at different speeds to an over-saturated soundtrack of Handel’s Zadok the Priest. The cast sings English hymns during scene changes – usually little more than a rearranging of chairs – culminating in an ironic Jerusalemat the play’s climax.

The stage is always well populated...