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King Lear - National Theatre Live

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by Sydneyfunmum (subscribe)
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An electric performance to the bitter end
King Lear National Live Ian McKellen
Ian McKellen as King Lear and Anita Uwaje as Cordelia, credit Johan Persson, photo from

In this intimate, riveting performance of King Lear, you will be mesmerised by the acting, the set designs and the clever use of lighting. It probably sounds odd to proclaim this an all singing, dancing version of King Lear, but musical interludes are used extensively in this production, and it is an effective way to draw the viewer into the story.

King Lear National Theatre Live
Sylvester McCoy as King Lear's Fool with Ian McKellen as King Lear, photo by Johan Perrson, from Ian Mckellen's website at

Of note are the introductory interviews with Ian McKellen, which explain why he wanted to have another crack at performing King Lear, and his uncommon approach of shrinking the size of the audience and venue, to produce a really intimate show where every reaction and facial expression can be seen at a very high level of granularity.

King Lear National Theatre Live
Claire Price as Goneril in King Lear. Photo by Johan Persson, taken from

Kirsty Bushell succeeds in portraying Regan as a dangerously unbalanced vixen, while Claire Price's Goneril is convincing as a more scheming, calculated evil.

Anita Uwaje makes a passionate, glorious Cordelia.

Combining this with the tragic genius of Shakespeare and compelling cast, and you have an explosively potent version of King Lear that hits the audience like a punch to the guts.

King Lear National Live
Danny Webb as Gloucester in KING LEAR at the Duke of Yorks Theatre Credit Johan Persson, from

The costume design is modern, and army camouflage lends a sombre hue to the battle scenes towards the end of the play. Combined with strobe lighting effects and movie-style music cutting between scenes, helps with adding a sense of tension and discomfort to the tone of the movie.

This is gut-wrenchingly good theatre and translates well to the screen. At almost 4 hours long (including a 20 minute intermission) it is for the true Shakespeare buffs and culture vultures willing to invest the time to appreciate this top notch performance. Ian McKellen has hinted that this may be his last major Shakespearean stage performance - so catch it while you can.

King Lear National Theatre
Danny Webb as Gloucester and Kirsty Bushell as Regan in KING LEAR. Photo credit Johan Persson, from

Showing for a very limited time at Dendy, for true Shakespeare fans and those who appreciate Ian McKellen's extensive talents, this is not to be missed.

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*Sydneyfunmum was invited as a guest
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Why? Exhilarating performance by Ian McKellen without travelling to the UK
When: 2pm, 3, 4 and 7 November 2018
Where: Dendy, check website for locations
Cost: $25 per adult ticket, concessions available
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