But therein lies the delight. And there's certainly nothing dusty or dated about the simple, evocative production. Simple circular discs cast shadows on the large red brick stage space, conjuring the heavens to which Lear often refers. The ageing king enters carried within a glass box, like some kind of relic: precious but redundant. That same clear container is echoed at the violent climax, when the bloody brutality of Gloucester's blinding is framed and exposed.
Gregory Doran's direction focuses on bringing life and lucidity to Shakespeare's text, rather than trying to attempt to 'do' anything. A talented cast speak verse and riddle with fluidity and plenty of feeling while live music punctuates the action.
At the root is Antony Sher's Lear, played with pomp and petulance. Ensconced in a vast shaggy grey fur and surrounded by his band of merry fools and knaves he begins the play an imposing figure -- with a trace of neediness. As power and dignity are stripped away, so are the layers, to leave a frail, prattling figure.
The tally of deaths on and off stage in the final few scenes can have a numbing effect, but the production leaves you with the weight of the loss.
|What||RSC's King Lear, Barbican review|
|Where||Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London, EC2Y 8DS | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Barbican (underground)|
10 Nov 16 – 23 Dec 16, 7:00 PM – 10:30 PM
|Price||£10 - £75|
|Website||Click here to book via the Barbican Centre|