Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

A Cracking Good Lear - Apart from Set Design

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

A Cracking Good Lear - Apart from Set Design

Article excerpt

Byline: Tamzin Lewis

King Lear, Royal Shakespeare Company, the Theatre Royal, until Saturday PERHAPS it isn't surprising that productions of King Lear have been in vogue over the last few years, with the play's themes of corruption, vanity, deceit, betrayal, warmongering and torture.

This is a fairly apocalyptic version of the tragedy, where the desolate, industrial warehouse of a set with faulty strip lighting, broken chandelier and patched-up windows is disintegrating from the very beginning. My only gripe with such a man-made landscape is that the action seems distant from nature, the all-encompassing force within the play. So even when Lear (Greg Hicks) turns his face to a torrent of water in the tempest it looks as though he is in a very large shower.

Despite the collapsing set during the storm, I just didn't get a feeling for the heath, although I liked the touch of Edgar (Charles Aitken) hiding in an underground bunker of a hovel (a la Saddam Hussein). …

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