Tuesday, 12 June 2018

King Lear - Antony Sher at the RSC

Antony Sher's King Lear originally played at Stratford 2 years ago, and has returned after a US tour.I missed it the first time round, so decided to go this time, and in Stratford-Upon-Avon for the matinee on Saturday

It's a big, bold production - Lear presents as a feudal lord,surrounded by a medieval-styled cast. His first entrance comes as he is carried in, enthroned, wearing a huge, fur, gown and (somewhat bizarrely) seated inside a perspex box (which detracts a little from the early medieval feel of the rest of the props and costumes. 

It means that his curses upon his daughter feel believable - both he, and Goneril,(Nia Gwynne) seem genuinely to believe that his curse has force, that the gods will listen, and his bewilderment when this doesn't make her back down is palpable.

Buom Tihnbang was an excellent Edmund,and David Troughton, as Gloucester, is also an excellent choice. 

I was less taken with the random, unspeaking characters on stage - homeless 'poor wretches' pointing up Lear's speech in the storm scene, (and incidentally, responsible for the death of the Fool, left behind when Gloucester intervenes to send Lear to Dover) They didn't seem to add much to the performance, it felt more that the director didn't trust us to understand the text without them!

Over all, however, well worth seeing. I'm glad I went (I believe the run is now over)

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