I wanted to see David Calder's Lear having so enjoyed his Shylock for the RSC at the Barbican a few years ago. I wasn't disappointed. I loved his jocular approach to dividing his kingdom, turning to dust and ashes when Cordelia refuses to play ball (not, apparently, realising the dire consequences) and he is as likeable a tyrant as I can remember. He's huge fun when evading his soldiers towards the play's end, and wonderfully moving when he finally comes. Danny Lee Wynter's Fool is more of a philosopher than a clown, Kelly Bright a memorably nasty Regan, Daniel Hawksford a handsome Edmund (but I've yet to see an actor make the utmost of this gift of a villain's role) while Trystan Gravelle can't be faulted as his brother. I couldn't see how the sombre ending (at least 5 corpses on stage) could develop into the Globe's traditional dance, but the trick is managed - Beric Norman
17 Jul 08
Well, this was my second visit to the Globe in as many years and it will not be my last. It is such a different theatrical experience. The buzz form the moment one arrives. The bustleling bars, the pie stands and drinks stalls gives a hint of the sort of madness that must have existed around the original Globe. However, we are not living in Elizabethan England, well not entirely, so many of the disadvantages of the Elizabethan stage unfortunatley dominate. Having said that this is a unique experience and one which I would whole heartedly recommend, but I think Lear is best left for a modern theatre, particularly when the actors are playing it as if they are in such a house. I had great difficulty hearing many of them and that is a No No when it comes to Shakespeare. An Elizabethan audience would have had a riot if they were subjected to whole tracts of dialogue being inaudible. We in contrast sat uncomplaining! Yet, I loved the falling daylight, the stage and the galleries becoming lit as the evening drew in. The cast worked so hard, luckily without rain last night, and well deserved the cheers from the clearly appreciative audience. But, and I know this sounds sacreligious, could we not have just a bit of subtle miking to lift their voices. I am sure Shakespeare would have jumped at it given the opportunity, but then he probably didn't need to because he had actors who could project their voices. A fine cast by any standards but Mr Shakespeare's Globe clearly sorts the men from the boys. - rds
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