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We Love Arts: but Lear is unlovable

Photo courtesy of

courtesy of ‘Joel Washing’

In brief: this is Shakespeare as torture porn.

It’s tough to organize this review. Put marginally less briefly, this production of King Lear pretty much sacrifices the story in order to wallow around in physical violence, partially demolished sets, thrusting and grunting and marital rape. It has a lot of visual appeal with regards to the sets and costuming but that’s not enough to recommend it.

That’s not really the fault of anyone on stage. With one significant exception every one of the actors does a nice job, though only Jonno Roberts as Edmund really puts in an notable performance. Others suffer from some odd choices that may or may not be their fault, such as the painful sing-song that Joaquin Torres uses when voicing Edgar’s alter-ego Tom.

The truly offensive content – and there’s a fair amount – likely all can be laid at the feet of the director, Robert Falls. If you’re going to go anyway you may want to skip the rest of this review, as it’ll be filled with spoilers for how several scenes are staged. That it’s possible for there to be a spoiler for a four-hundred year old work is an interesting fact in and of itself, I think, but not a reason to subject yourself to this production.

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