King Lear

Another in the series of live Broadcasts by the National Theatre – this one from the Donmar – a 250 seat theatre in Covent Garden.
This was an excellent production – in large part because the setting was completely stark and bare. The focus was on the words and the movement and it worked really well. The pacing was fast, with people coming on and off from at least three points. As the only thing that had to change from one scene to the next was your mind, it enabled a potentially tedious play to maintain the pace without losing any of the words or the plot.
Derek Jacobi was outstanding as Lear – probably the best I have seen. He raged, he pranced, he cried, he shouted and he collapsed into madness.
Gina McKee as Goneril outdid Justine Mitchell as Regan in sheer evil. The sisters start out impatient with an aged, petulant parent and descend into his inheritors – wanting to have it all on their own terms with no regard for the law or morality. Pippa Bennet-Warner as Cordelia was good and true and very believable.
Gwilym Lee as Edgar and Alec Newman as Edmund are worth watching out for.


About cathyriggall

Theatre junkie, who thinks live theatre is the ultimate form of living on the edge. You never know what will happen when an actor steps on the stage.
This entry was posted in Alec Newman., Derek Jacobi, Gina McKee, Gwilym Lee, National Theatre. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to King Lear

  1. Keith says:

    We have seen some strong performances of Lear in recent years, but this is the best. Hard to say how much of that is Jacobi and how much the staging – fast focussed and clear.Cathy is right about Edgar and Edmund. Edmund is always fun to watch (and play, I'm sure), but Edgar is often less interesting. However, here he kept my attention – he was particularly better than usual here in the Tom disguise.Gina McKee was a great Goneril; I'd love to see her as Ruth in "The Homecoming". She might make me forget Vivian Merchant's performance!In general, I am in awe of the Donmar productions. If I were in London, I'd see anything they do – even musicals. The NTF productions are not like being there, but they are pretty good and we are getting to see some performances we would just miss otherwise.

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