David Carl and Michole Biancosino’s Trump Lear manages to be both a fair rendering of an abridged production of Shakespeare’s Lear and an astute imagined conflict with the 45th president. Far from a gimmick, the meta-commentary of the show argues that Trump is poisoning comedy and art just as he does this show. But there are laughs to be had in this gallows humour.
Carl David (David Carl) must perform his one-man show of Donald Trump as King Lear for Trump himself. If the Donald hates it, David will be executed for treason. With a box of makeshift puppets, David voices various political figures as the characters: George W Bush is the conniving bastard Edmund (a photo of his face with googly eyes is attached to a Solo cup), Ivanka Trump (her face pasted on a bottle of mayo) is the non-compliant Cordelia, and Putin (a vodka bottle) is Cordelia’s suitor, the King of France. But as is his wont, the president keeps interrupting when he gets bored, annoyed or confused.
While it’s an intentionally frenzied, shambolic concept, Carl is a talented impressionist giving precise rendering of Lear in the voices of Trump, Christopher Walken and John Wayne among others.