Tuesday, July 06, 2004

King Lear, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-Upon-Avon
In 1953 Michael Redgrave played King Lear at Stratford and won.

Last night his son, Corin, climbed Mount Lear and through a mixture of energy, intelligence and thoughtful husbanding of his resources got as close to the summit as one could hope.

He begins, in Bill Alexander's production, with a brilliant touch. He enters as a senile, doddering figure tapping out each step with a heavy stick. As he reaches his family, however, he straightens up and lets out a raucous laugh as if to say 'fooled you'. This tells us instantly that Lear is a whimsical despot who enjoys playing games; and the point is confirmed when he divides up his kingdom on a schoolroom map with almost infantile glee. "

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