(4 / 5)
King Lear follows the story of a king who loses power to two of his daughters after banishing his other, his realisation of the wrongs he has committed and his eventual fall into madness and wisdom. It is a timeless story of family, loyalty, how power corrupts and the definition of insanity.
Doran’s interpretation of a Shakespearean classic is ambitious from its minimalist setting to its total reframing of some of Shakespeare’s most iconic villains. As stated in his pre-show interview, Doran saw the play as more political and as a discussion of the human condition. This is evident when he sacrifices some of the family dynamic to give these themes more support; this can be seen when he portrays the characters as ideas rather than as complex individuals.
A talented cast all shone through in this production but particularly Nia Gwynne, as Goneril, who portrayed the character as far more sympathetic than any other performance has. Along with this, the live streaming of the event allowed for quick and easy access as well as the inclusion of events such as the interval feature on the costume design for the feature which reflected the lavish lifestyle and transitions that the characters go through stunningly.
All together a dazzling interpretation of a classic reimagined for such political climates as ours. However, in the first half there is a particular imbalance of light and dark as the attempts at humour often seem out of place but order is restored in the second half leading to a dramatic and satisfying finale. This seemed to be the perfect introduction to such an old and intricate tale.
RSC Live: King Lear
Vue Cinema, Swansea
12th October 2016
Author: William Shakespeare
Director: Gregory Doran
Design: Niki Turner (Theatre Design), Tim Mitchell (Sound Design), Jonathon Ruddick (Sound Design)
Technical: Hannah Miller (Casting), Carl Root (Production Manager), Ed Parry (Costume Supervisor)
Cast: Anthony Sher, Nia Gwynne, Kelly Williams, Natalie Simpson, David Troughton, Oliver Johnstone, Paapa Essiedu, Antony Troughton
Producer: John Wyver (For Live from Stratford-Upon-Avon), Zoe Donegan (Creative Team)
Running Time: 3hrs and 30 mins