Jan Powell (the new artistic director at Lake Tahoe Shakespeare) introduces herself with Richard III, Shakespeare’s famously dark history play about a twisted man who will stop at nothing to attain the throne. The production is set in period—including broadswords—and it asks the audience to grasp the fractious family politics of royalty (as Richard engineers the demise of various male kin, and a few women as well). The man’s bad to the bone from scene one; the fascination comes from watching him spin his lies … actor Ian Bedford revels in his role as the smiling killer. White-haired actress Jillian Lindig (as Richard’s horrified mother) gets in some great speeches publicly denouncing her bloody son. On opening night, the first half had some slow spots, and the light and sound were sometimes glitchy, but the show has more pluses than problems overall.
Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, 7:30 p.m. on alternating dates; $22-$72. Sand Harbor, south of Incline Village, Nevada; (800) 74-SHOWS; www.laketahoeshakespeare.com. Through August 17.