Patsy Rodenburg (international voice coach) talks in her classes about the second circle. Basically and in a nut shell it is for an actor ‘being in the moment and truthful’ and the moment is certainly what Greg Hicks is in, in his rendition of Lear in King Lear from the RSC which is currently at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle for its annual season. He has the audience in the palm of his hand along with his ‘crown jewels’. Such is his decent into madness that every gesture and painful cry is filled with truth and honesty, and it is at times painful to watch. The performance in stark contrast to last years decent into madness in The Winter’s Tale.

Many references are made to religion in this production, and in one striking reference, Edgar played by Charles Aitken appears as a Christ like figure.

There isn’t a great deal to laugh about in King Lear, but what there is, is provided by the fool, played with beauty and perfection by Kathryn Hunter, who is both irreverent and loyal to the king in equal measure. A wonderful production that raises many questions, and as with all of Shakespeare’s tragedy’s, never fully answers them. That is our job and can only be done when the actors have played the truth.