Cast & Crew
|Cornwall’s Man||Paul Hamilton|
|Duke of Albany||John MacKay|
|Duke of Burgundy||Ansu Kabia|
|Duke of Cornwall||Clarence Smith|
|Earl of Gloucester||Geoffrey Freshwater|
|Earl of Kent (Caius)||Darrell D’Silva|
|Edgar (Poor Tom)||Charles Aitken|
|King Lear||Greg Hicks|
|King of France||Brian Doherty|
|Lear’s Gentleman||James Gale|
|Old Man||Larrington Walker|
|Additional Company Movement||Struan Leslie|
|Assistant Director||Vik Sivalingam|
|Assistant Stage Manager||Joanne Vimpany|
|Casting||Hannah Miller CDG|
|Company Manager||Michael Dembowicz|
|Company Text and Voice Work||Lyn Darnley|
|Costume Supervisor||Carrie Bayliss|
|Deputy Stage Manager||Alison Daniels|
|Lighting Designer||Jon Clark|
|Music Director||Malcolm Newton|
|Production Manager||Simon Ash|
|Sound Designer||Christopher Shutt|
|Stage Manager||Suzanne Bourke|
|Trumpet/ Cornett||Andrew Stone-Fewings|
|Violin/ Voice||Sianed Jones|
I went to this performance convinced that I had either read or seen or – potentially – studied King Lear before… it turned out that if I had done any or all of these things, I had only got as far as the storm scene (which in this production was split by the interval) which meant that the entire second half was excitingly unknown for me.
David Farr (director) and designer Jon Bausor‘s production occupied a dilapidated set, perhaps symbolic of the over-long rule of the elderly Lear himself. The play opened with most of the cast clad in ceremonial ’Ancient Briton’ garb, which was stripped away to leave costumes reminiscent of the First World War. In fact, it is testament to Greg Hicks’s skill at becoming a character, rather than inhabiting a costume, that the more stripped his Lear became (down to his trousers and a wreath of weeds towards the end of the play), the more I saw not a 50-something man, but truly an 80-something former king – despite Hicks certainly not having the body or physique of an old man.
Kathryn Hunter gave a standout performance as the Fool: Lear’s ‘shoulder angel’ given impish form. I do hope that someone official has taken a photo of the Fool from the side stalls, during the scene when he is sat on the edge of the long bench, swinging feet not quite touching the floor, with his little suitcase packed and ready to go. Oh! An iconic image for me from this production.
Finally, Clarence Smith (Cornwall) deserves applause for saving one of the most tense scenes in the play from dissolving into farce, when the fire warming the poker for the blinding of Gloucester began malfunctioning with a loud humming noise. Perfectly within character, at an apt point within the dialogue of the scene, and mercifully before anyone in the audience got the giggles, Smith kicked the fire and – thankfully – all went quiet and the blinding scene unfolded to its grim and bloody conclusion.
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