May 15, 2016

King Lear

Ah Shakespeare, how you have been wronged. We have such a sanitised view of your works. Thankfully Victorian sensibilities no longer reign, allowing Circa to include fist fights, guns and sex scenes in their production of King Lear. I'm glad I hadn't seen or read this play before so I could be surprised as things unfolded, though I admit to reading the programme which had a full outline. The storyline (sorry Shakespeare) was frankly ridiculous and I may have been lost without prior knowledge. You'd think the playwright felt some sort of joy in destroying his characters before sending them off the way he goes on.

Of course the average theatre goer has heard of Ray Henwood (if nothing else as the father of comedian Dai) and Circa audiences should know him very well from his one-man-show repeat season of A Christmas Carol. He takes the title role of the King, ranging from dignified gentleman, to mad man, to stricken father. The old man was showing his age but held nothing back. There were several other familiar faces but I didn't recognise the names,  a fact I feel a little guilty about.

The simple, adaptable set portrayed several houses as well as the barren outside. Sound effects of rain almost made it cold inside. The dry ice was always vaguely present but never enough to be noticeable about from the coughs it elicited.

As all Shakespeare is the play is very long, close to three hours. You'd be better to see it on a Tuesday or Wednesday when it starts earlier or even a matinee performance.

Performances: 14 May- 18 June (Tuesdays & Wednesdays, 6.30pm;Thursday – Saturday, 8pm
Sunday Matinees 4pm)
Tickets: $46

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