The rest of the cast in this production was adequate, if sometimes a little dull when the Big Bad was offstage. The strongest of them was Gemma Jones (the other name film actor in the cast: she was Renée Zellweger's mother in Bridget Jones's Diary and Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet's mother in Sense and Sensibility) as Queen Margaret, whose curse the director designated as the presiding spirit of the show: she spends a lot of time lurking at the back of the stage even if the script says nothing about her being there.
Spacey had flaws: his ranting was too monotonously-pitched (oh, for a little Pacino here), and his portrayal of Richard's descent into terror near the end was unconvincing. But as a crafty schemer, he gave a delightfully captivating, often comic performance, hot where Pacino (and Ian McKellen) were icy cold. To heck with critics who say Spacey doesn't have the classical acting chops to carry it off. The line readings were very carefully considered, with the humorous effect often achieved through ingeniously placed pauses. For instance:
- "For then I'll marry Warwick's youngest daughter. / What though I kill'd her husband and her father?" came off, with the key word rendered rather like in the clip linked to, as "For then I'll marry Warwick's youngest daughter. [pause, looks at audience] What? [longer pause, looks more challengingly] Though I kill'd her husband and her father?"
- Instructing Buckingham to impute the bastardy of King Edward, Richard's elder brother: "But touch this sparingly, as 'twere far off, / Because you know, my lord, my mother lives" transformed by one tiny casual contemporary inflection and the addition of a comma: "... Because, y'know, my mother lives." (I think he cut the "my lord" but I don't remember for sure.)