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King Lear

Published Wednesday 7 May 2008 at 11:25 by Lisa Childs

As one of Shakespeare’s frenetic and energetic plays, it is always a test of a venue as to how it will cope with the fast-paced scenes and ever-changing moods. The Globe fairs tremendously as its form allows director Dominic Dromgoole to guide his actors over all manner of obstacles as they climb up poles, down ladders, burst forth from hatches and disappear in and out of trapdoors at a rate of knots.

The cast is headed by powerful David Calder as Lear. Gruff and defiant, he captures the emotional rollercoaster with ease and achieves the gentle stillness of his downfall within the vastness of the Globe.

Daughters Goneril and Regan, played convincingly as rival siblings by Sally Bretton and Kellie Bright, show a building depth of character and a tougher Cordelia is played by Jodie McNee, who despite being fragile in appearance reveals more strength throughout than previous incarnations.

Daniel Hawksford as Edmund has real depth in his calm anger and his ‘baseness’ speech is spat with excellent vengeance. Trystan Gravelle makes for a dashing Edgar and likeably skittish Mad Tom, sparring well with Danny Lee Wynter’s cherubic clownish Fool, making his theatre debut.

Paul Copley’s Earl of Kent is strong and insightful and Pamela Hay’s haunting vocals set the scenes’ moods until the tragic close.

The musicians’ dexterity creates a range of effects and the percussionists’ storm is particularly effective, complemented by the blood-soaked Bedlamites hidden in the audience.

A classic staging supported by music, song and traditional sound effects which perfectly complement the setting.

Production information

Shakespeare's Globe, London, April 23 -August 17

William Shakespeare
Dominic Dromgoole
Globe Theatre
Cast includes:
David Calder, Sally Bretton, Kellie Bright, Jodie McNee
Running time:
3hrs 10mins

Production information displayed was believed correct at time of review. Information may change over the run of the show.

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Run sheet

King's Head, Islington London
January 24-February 15 2014