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Review of King Lear (Dir. Greg Doran, starring Antony Sher)

RSC September 2016

What could be better for lovers of King Lear than to see it performed in Stratford-upon-Avon with Antony Sher in the lead role? I'd seen Sher as Richard III, Macbeth and Falstaff (Henry IV parts one and two) and he was excellent in all of them. Sadly he wasn't as good in the role of Lear - indeed the whole production was flawed. Please understand that I went with good intent and I so want to support the theatre - but it just wasn't good enough.

I don't go to the theatre looking for flaws, I go to be caught up with the unique magic, which is Theatre. It can be life-changing, full of wonder, an education, an emotional experience, a magical journey. Sadly, this was none of the above.

(spoiler alert) To discuss the play, I have to, well, discuss the play - so here goes...

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Review of Glenda Jackson’s King Lear

The Old Vic, London (25 Oct-3 Dec 2016)

Glenda Jackson is not only an actress with some calibre, but also a Labour MP who has spoken out against the gross inequalities in UK society. She articulates well and has a big heart. Since King Lear is a play with much to say about social justice, inequality and corruption, I thought that Glenda Jackson would be ideally placed to convey the text in such a way that it lives and breathes. I so wanted this to be good. I had no problem with Lear being played by a woman – and neither would Shakespeare.

The opening scene hinges on Lear’s reactions to each of his three daughter’s responses (to his demands for flattery). Consequently I thought it odd that for much of the scene Glenda was sat centre stage with her back to the audience. This seriously hindered her expression and made some lines less audible.

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