Two biases must be admitted up front: Stratford did a fabulous King Lear last summer with Colm Feore in the lead role and a very strong supporting cast. Second, we are leary of Jared Sakren’s directorial efforts. His Tempest two years ago was very weak and we were not convinced that he was up to the challenge of Lear.
If you have read my comments on As You Like It, which we saw after Lear, you probably have a good idea how it went. I wrote a review of Lear first, but it seems to have been lost. So this seems a bit odd and out of order, because it is.
Lear was not a great production. Sakren in his director’s notes claims that Lear is not mad or suffering from dementia. But his lead actor apparently did not get the memo, as his Lear was clearly mad. The others in the cast were stereotypes or caricatures. The two sisters were dressed and acted like dominatrices. Stone faced and unmoving. The other big problem with the production was the sound. Sakren does not spend time thinking about whether the audience can hear the actors. He lets them talk to each other, and has fun with the sound effects, ignoring the impact on the audience.
We left at the intermission. Too tired to put up with a mediocre production.