Enlightening description of this scene and the interplay between Jeremy Irons’s Richard II and Michael Kitchen’s Bolingbroke beginning at the bottom of page 60 in the book, King Richard II by Margaret Shewring, in which she cites the Financial Times:

Richard’s mournful Christ-like appearance is of immediate contrast to the power brat demeanor of Bolingbroke, whom Mr. Kitchen puts through a vocal pressure cooker and sideways movement class… The actor is not one of nature’s Bolingbrokes, but he is far too interesting to make you complain about that.

From Michael Ratcliffe’s review for The Observer, Sep. 14, 1986:

Bolingbroke (Michael Kitchen) employs rhetoric and hyperbole with the flushed distaste of one who knows they sit unhappily on him but are the required political style of the day. Mr Kitchen plays the part as he plays Mercutio, testing the lines to see if they will bear him, cuffing, leaning and lunging on the words like a man under doctor’s orders not to strain his heart. It is mightily affected, but imposes its own conviction as the play moves on. If Kitchen is a showy actor, he is also an unselfish one, an excellent listener, a field-force of compacted energy when still.



From Shakespeare Survey, Volume 40, edited by Stanley Wells:

Bolingbroke … was a brutal philistine. Michael Kitchen played him as a venomous Uriah Heep, unctuously hypocritical before he achieved power, sadistically ruthless thereafter. Speaking with the mannerisms of a man still two or three grappas the worse from his spell as a dipsomaniac Mercutio, Kitchen stalked the stage at the head of a band of militaristic gangsters, snarling, wheedling and viciously befuddled.

More performance details at the AHDS Performing Arts Collections here and here.

And Richard Hornby writes in The Hudson Review, Vol. 40, No. 4 (Winter, 1988):

…an interesting performance by Michael Kitchen as a shrewd, politic, Richard Nixonish Bolingbroke, but Jeremy Irons was a poor Richard indeed… Bolingbroke not only won the throne, he won the acting honors too.

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