THE Globe's touring production filled the stage of the little Georgian Theatre, stretching the playing area into the normally unseen wings. Designer Jonathan Fensom’s set is a simple wooden structure, his costumes an eclectic mix of forties dress mixed with a flummery of flamboyant Elizabethan.
Music waters a seed of happiness in the tragedy of a King whose age pushes him towards retirement. Joseph Marcell’s Lear is almost likeable in his tyrannical role and likeable or not, his performance is perfect, pregnant with all things piteous as he tries to divide his kingdom twixt his three daughters. His villainous elder daughters, Regan and Goneril, well acted by Shanaya Rafaat and Gwendolen Chatfield, become a double-act of sisters from fractious hell.
In contrast, an almost Cinderella-like younger sister, Cordelia, who Lear comes to cherish most of all, doubles up as The Fool giving an excellent Bethan Cullinane plenty of fooling around to balance out her concern for her father as he falls into a fatal psychosis.
A superb performance from John Stahl as the Earl of Gloucester, a noble and stalwart adulterer who misjudges which of his sons to trust and who is blinded for his trouble. Should Gloucester trust his legitimate son Edgar-the-disguiser, a slippery Alex Mugnaioni or his illegitimate son Edmund, a brilliantly energetic Daniel Pirrie?
Bill Buckhurst’s direction gives this production style, pace and most of all believability. His storm scene is a tremendous explosion of grief, rage and madness, complete with thunder sheets, billowing curtains and enough noise to be heard in Richmond town centre.
This is touring theatre at its very best and I can’t wait for the next Globe offering.
- Runs until tomorrow. Box Office: 0174-882-5252 or georgiantheatreroyal.co.uk