Michael Attenborough's production of William Shakespeare's King Lear is playing at The Almeida Theatre until 3 November 2012, with press night 11 September. Designs are by Tom Scutt with lighting by Jon Clark and sound and music by Dan Jones. The Almeida's production of King Lear is part of the World Shakespeare Festival.
The cast comprises Kieran Bew (Edmund), Benjamin Dilloway (King of France), Steven Elliott (Oswald), Phoebe Fox (Cordelia), Trevor Fox (Fool), Ian Gelder (Kent), Richard Goulding (Edgar), Richard Hope (Albany), Jenny Jules (Regan), Barry McCarthy (Lear's Loyal Servant), Andrew Nolan (Duke of Burgundy), Jonathan Pryce (King Lear) Chook Sibtain (Cornwall), Christopher Tester (Cornwall's Servant), Zoe Waites (Goneril), Alix Wilton Regan (Gloucester's Loyal Servant) and Clive Wood (Gloucester).
For tickets, scheduling, special events and further information, visit www.almeida.co.uk.
Let's see what the critics had to say...
Michael Billington, The Guardian: Pryce's Lear, in short, is no majestic ancient but a dominating and seemingly exploitative father, who undergoes a spiritual purgation through suffering. This is a Lear one understands rather than sympathises with.
Charles Spencer, Daily Telegraph: As he rages in the storm, Pryce brilliantly captures both the torment and the sudden glimmers of truth and humanity that Lear discovers in his insanity. And the scene in which he and the blinded Gloucester (Clive Wood, in splendid form) are reunited on the beach at Dover achieves an extraordinary mixture of humour, pain and tenderness. In the great final scene, with the dead Cordelia in his arms, Pryce seems to plumb the depths of grief as he asks the unanswerable question at the play's heart: "Why should a dog, a horse, a rat have life/And thou no breath at all?
Henry Hitchings, Evening Standard: Pryce's Lear is an abusive father, a shaggy tyrant who wants to give up responsibility without renouncing his privileges. When he asks his daughters to declare the extent of their love for him, we sense him teetering on the brink of domestic carnage. Sometimes Shakespeare's tragedy is treated as having cosmic resonance; here its significance seems more contained and familiar.
Dominic Maxwell, The Times: He gets strong support from Trevor Fox as a dry Geordie Fool, from the reliably good Wood, from Ian Gelder as the loyal Kent and from Waites as a Goneril who looks to have reinvented herself in direct contrast to her father's emotionality. Yet there are moments, particularly in the long stretches where Lear is off stage, when the production drops down a gear. It needs another trick to help sustain the final hour.
Maxwell Cooter, Whatsonstage: Jonathan Pryce is a fine Lear. There's an authority to his verse speaking and he captures well the latent rage of a king. There's not much made of the undercurrent of sexual abuse - the violent rages are barely simmering under the surface. There's a playfulness too; the scene with the newly-blinded Gloucester elicits much laughter, much more than is usual in this scene.