PG, violent scenes, language.
Dir: Jonathan Munby, UK, 2018, 227m including interval. Ian McKellen, Anita-Joy Uwajeh, Lloyd Hutchinson.
$20 regular, $14 seniors and members. No passes.
“Ian McKellen played King Lear ten years ago in Trevor Nunn’s vehemently operatic interpretation for the Royal Shakespeare Company. Here in a more intimate setting he gives a strikingly conversational reading of the part, savouring the nuances of Lear’s nostalgia, dark logic and fragility as much as his scalding fury. At first McKellen makes Shakespeare’s tragic monarch a military hero. Sporting medals and gold braid, he takes a startlingly blithe approach to splitting his kingdom between his three daughters, simply clipping a map into thirds with deftly wielded scissors. But when Lear’s status as an imposing patron dissolves, McKellen movingly conveys his bewilderment… Jonathan Munby’s modern-dress account, clear-sighted rather than radical is satisfyingly brisk and finds some uncomfortably visceral ways to embody the play’s imagery of a society plunged into chaos. The supporting roles are luxuriously cast… But it is McKellen’s detailed performance that’s the production’s triumph. With finely measured intelligence he traces Lear’s inexorable movement from pomp via rage and shambolic delirium to melancholy tenderness and the agony of belated self-knowledge.” – Henry Hitchings, The Evening Standard