King Lear

Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Rupert Goold
Liverpool Everyman (31st October – 29th November 2008)

Reviewed by Alice Lenkiewicz

My past memory of King Lear had been the exciting and emotional film production starring Sir Lawrence Olivier and John Hurt. This production had a profound effect upon me when I was younger and I remember being riveted by the story and the characters; so much so, that I looked upon families in a new light from that point onwards. The play taught me a strong lesson in life. Be careful of those around you. They may not be what they seem. I was therefore all these years later looking forward to seeing this latest production of King Lear at the Everyman Playhouse starring Pete Postlethwaite who I felt acted very well and conveyed an interesting King Lear.

I thought the play began well and I was drawn into the characters of the old foolish King Lear and the evil sisters, Goneril and Regan and dear sweet Cordelia.

However, I felt the play was let down by the costume. I was not interested in the suits and modern gear. It was very confusing. The characters seemed to lose something with the ‘suit thing’ going on while the stage design was dismal and came across as a rather uninviting industrial estate. If I want to see industrial estates, I can go back to live in Skelmersdale. I had to look at one of those out of my window for four years, so not my favourite view anymore. Even so the one in Skelmersdale had a strange window that changed colour for hours on end (I never found out why but at least it was interesting). Also, I wasn’t impressed with the idea of the ‘green wax jacket, tweed thing’ going on, oh dear.... very tacky. The production came across a little bit Midsomer Murders at times. The idea of Gloucester having his eyes gouged out wearing tweeds was just so...oh dear,'unfitting' as they say.

Not my favorite production, very grey and formal. I personally felt it just didn’t work but each to their own. Well done to the idea of film in the background and some of the stage effects. In terms of this production it seems the idea that less is more, really meant that less means less.

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