First Encounter: King Lear, 2012 – ★★★½

The Royal Shakespeare Company developed this truncated version of King Lear for young audiences through their education programme, and this version was taped in New York.

Running just seventy-eight minutes and starring Paul Copley as the King, this is set over a week at Christmas, with Lear opening his presents at court on Christmas Day and dividing his kingdom between his cruel daughters while banishing the one most true to him, and reaching the end of the play on New Year’s Eve.

Although the running time is short, the main elements of the play are there, although an audience may struggle to find emotional engagement.

There are some interesting parallels in costume – when we first see Edmund he is dressed as the red-nosed reindeer, the same as the Fool will be later – however, both Kent and the Fool have their parts much reduced, and although the blinding of Gloucester survives along with Edgar’s masquerade as ‘poor Tom’ (wearing clothes retrieved from the drains), it doesn’t have the same power as it might in a full-length version.

Vía Letterboxd – loureviews

About Louise Penn

Writer, reviewer, fan. View all posts by Louise Penn

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