WORTH A LOOK?: ****
WHERE: Old Vic
WHEN: 28/10, runs to 3/12
How long is too long in the theatre? It’s a question which crosses our mind during this three-hour-and-45-minute production with one 15-minute interval.
- Read on for reasons including 80-year-old Glenda Jackson’s gender-blind casting triumph
Deborah Warner’s King Lear is in modern-day dress and light on scenery with the chairs occasionally onstage in a semi circle sometimes giving it the feel of a read-through before the real thing.
Glenda Jackson’s descent into madness is vividly portrayed and she makes a convincing Lear bequeathing her kingdom between daughters including Celia Imrie’s Goneril and Jane Horrocks’ deliciously conniving Regan.
Elsewhere the casting is as showy with Rhys Ifans as Fool complete with comedy Superman outfit and Harry Melling’s tortured Edgar even going full-frontal at one point.
An interesting take on a classic then with a starry cast and a central performance that fully justifies the decision to go gender-blind even if from row two it was a little difficult to hear Jackson during the storm scene.
Looking at the Old Vic’s website, this production is yet to be a sell-out and then 20 per cent off given to customers at the venue’s aftershow bar Penny indicates the Old Vic is keen to give guests as much value for money as possible.
It’s also where we saw actor Stephen Rea (who must have been in the audience) and cast members including Rhys Ifans and Jane Horrocks relaxing after the show.