Ian McKellen takes his shot at the consummate villain role, and a well-aimed shot it is. I generally like my Shakespeare acted within its own time frame, but for a modern production, this one isn’t bad. The 1930’s sets, backdrops, and music are over-the-top in their presentation, lending a surreal, supremely fascistic aspect to this history play. It translates well. McKellen’s delivery of Richard’s famous lines is spot-on. Watching Maggie Smith is a joy, as usual, and veterans Kristin Scott Thomas, Edward Hardwicke (better known to Americans as Sherlock Holmes’s Watson), and Nigel Hawthorne perform admirably in important supporting roles. On the down side, Annette Bening and Robert Downey, Jr. are almost comically miscast, their presence jarring and shallow. Then again, it’s a rare American “movie star” who isn’t routinely upstaged, and badly, by classically trained British actors.