YORK'S theatre scene is blooming with ever more companies making their mark.

In the last week alone, Anna-Siobhan Wilcox's Anonymous Bosh and Claire Morley's Bird On Head Theatre have caught the eye at the Love Arts Festival with The Knot Of The Heart and the ten-minute vignette Blu, and now Tom Straszewski's Bronzehead Theatre is leading Shakespeare's Richard II down the garden path...in a good way.

Bronzehead was founded in 2013 to develop "site-sensitive" performances in historic Yorkshire venues. After the debut run of Old Haunts' medieval ghost stories in the haunted church of Holy Trinity, Goodramgate, Straszewski is directing Richard II in a tour of Yorkshire gardens and places associated with Richard's reign on the 615th anniversary of his death in Yorkshire. This week, Micklegate, in York, where Hotspur's head was displayed; next week, Harrogate, where John of Gaunt held land, and Pontefract Castle, where Richard was imprisoned and died.

It is said Richard was either murdered or starved to death by his cousin Henry IV; in Straszewski's modern account of Shakespeare's history play, the chosen weapon is a pruning hook. Elsewhere, the regal sceptre is a grass edge-trimmer; the orb, a cooking apple; the crown made of gilded twigs.

Everything is on the turn in the gardens of England as Straszewski takes his inspiration from John of Gaunt's "Sceptered Isle" speech: "this blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England".

In the church of St Martin-cum-Gregory, nature is dying; the font and pulpit are decorated with wilting boughs; the aisle and altar steps are covered in wild, unkempt, decaying grass (courtesy of the splendidly named company Wow! Grass!) that forms a croquet lawn in a traverse design to match the confrontational air.

In Straszewski's vision, workers may wish to nurture a garden England, but weak, dandy, cream suited, diminutive, barren Richard (Mark Burghagen) is undermined by get-rich, land-selling cronies, the ruling class distracted by croquet. As he falls, so rises Amy Millns's righteous, rebellious, rancid, withering cousin Henry Bolingbroke, who would rather a wheelbarrow be used to dump a body, newly murdered.

Jeans, leather jackets, boating stripes and cricket blazers add a modernity that spans the 20th and 21st century, while discarded "ant-fracking" banners bring topicality to Straszewski's England of "cronyism, global warming, pollution and greed".

The multi-role playing Elizabeth Cooke, Geraldine Bell, Richard Easterbrook and Mick Liversidge all become entangled in this choking, polluted garden, Liversidge excelling in Gaunt's speech. Burghagen savours the poetic beauty of Shakespeare's verdant language, his Richard caught between "humanity and futile delusions of royal office", as Burghagen has described it.

Stephanie Hill's music, whether on drum, guitar or especially the singing by cast and her alike, enhances many scenes, and so does the lighting as night descends and Bolingbroke is cast into harrowing darkness, lit only by torches in film-noir vogue.

Straszewski notes how "Richard II is rarely performed, and unfairly so", and he makes a persuasive argument for its reappraisal by stretching its focus beyond "noblemen squabbling" to the "fierce debate about what it takes to care for where you live": a debate ongoing in Yorkshire this very week. All is ripe in Tom's garden, if not Richard's.

Richard II, Bronzehead Theatre, St Martin-cum-Gregory, Micklegate, York, 2pm and 7.30pm, today, and 7.30pm, tomorrow; box office, 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk. On tour until July 19: Friary Gardens, Richmond, July 15, 7.30pm, wegottickets.com/bronzeheadtheatre; Helmsley Walled Garden, July 16, 7.30pm, helmsleyarts.co.uk; Poppleton Tithe Barn, July 17, 7.30pm, yorktheatreroyal.co.uk; Pontefract Castle, July 18, 7pm, 01977 723440; and Valley Gardens, Harrogate, July 19, 7pm, harrogatetheatre.co.uk. Full tour details at bronzeheadtheatre.co.uk