Kent's King Lear Extends Three Weeks at AlmeidaDate: 25 February 2002
The Oliver Ford Davies-headed King Lear at the Almeida, Jonathan Kent's final production for the theatre during his lauded reign as joint artistic director, has extended its limited run by three weeks. King Lear opened at the Almeida at King's Cross on 12 February 2002 (previews from 31 January) and had been booking to 30 March; it will now finish on 20 April.
The production received somewhat mixed reviews from critics, although audiences have been raving about Kent's modern-dress interpretation of Shakespeare's classic tragedy, with particular praise heaped on Paul Brown's set design.
Davies, who plays the title role, has worked extensively for the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre, where his credits include Racing Demon, for which he won the Best Actor Olivier. His many productions for the Almeida include Naked, Ivanov and 2000's Ralph Fiennes-led Shakespeare double bill in Shoreditch. On television, Davies has featured in Kavanagh QC and A Dance to the Music of Time; and on film, in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, Sense and Sensibility and Mrs Brown.
He is joined in the cast by young British film stars, and Almeida returnees, James Frain (Armadillo, Reindeer Games, Elizabeth, Hilary and Jackie, The Count of Monte Cristo and Tom Hollander (I>Gosford Park, Possession, Enigma, Bedrooms and Hallways, Some Mother's Son, Maybe Baby and Martha Meet Frank, Daniel and Laurence), who play feuding brothers Edmund and Edgar.
Also in the cast are Suzanne Burden (Goneril), Lizzy McInnerny (Regan), Nancy Carroll (Cordelia), Anthony O'Donnell (The Fool), Paul Jesson (Earl of Kent), David Ryall (Earl of Gloucester), Paul Shelley (Duke of Albany), David Robb (Duke of Cornwall).
The production team - who have previously collaborated with Kent on The Tempest, Platonov and, in Shoreditch, Richard II and Coriolanus - are designer Brown, lighting designer Mark Henderson, composer Jonathan Dove and sound designer John A Leonard.
The next major production at the Almeida will be the world premiere of The Distance from Here (2 May to 8 June), by American writer and director Neil Labute, who scored such a hit last year with The Shape of Things.
Kent and his partner Ian McDiarmid, who took over the directorship of the Almeida in 1990, announced their joint resignation in September 2001. They will continue until this July, when they will be succeeded by RSC associate director Michael Attenborough, ahead of the Almeida's return to its Islington home, which has been undergoing a £4m refurbishment since the end of last year.