Nancy Meckler directs Kevin R McNally in this new production of Shakespeare’s tragedy. Here’s Love London Love Culture’s round up of the reviews… 

King Lear

King Lear has three daughters, but no sons. Boldly he makes a decision to divide his kingdom among his children, but fails to anticipate the consequences of his actions. His generosity is cruelly repaid and Lear finds himself adrift, wandering homeless and destitute. As he comes to realise the false values by which he has lived, he finally encounters his own humanity.

The Guardian: *** “To his credit, McNally catches Lear’s contradictions, one moment berating Goneril as a plague-sore and the next getting a laugh by saying “But I’ll not chide thee”. He also speaks the verse clearly and the context gives extra bite to Lear’s attacks on the hypocrisies of power.”

WhatsOnStage: *** “But Meckler is as wise as she is visionary. Perhaps so as not to alienate, she keeps the pure physical theatre to a minimum, and instead drives her body-meets-text sensibilities into vigorous and precise direction.”

The Independent: *** “Not a great production, but an honourable one that gathers to a gutting climax.”

The Times: ** “Kevin McNally looks like a cross between Ernest Hemingway and Captain Birdseye in a serviceable but lacklustre production”

The Stage: *** “there’s nothing too outrageous here, nothing to provoke the purists or to give the iconoclasts cause to rejoice. It’s just a very decent King Lear, clear and precise, with nothing in excess.”

The Telegraph: **** “In short the play’s the king – and as Lears go, Kevin R McNally, 61, plucked from semi-celebrity (he’s best-known for a recurring role in the Pirates of the Caribbean films) to assail this mountainous role, is a bit of a find.”

Broadway World: **** “Whilst Lear’s personal struggles almost play second fiddle to the sisters’ power struggle by the end, that doesn’t stop Kevin McNally from putting in a revelatory performance. He captures the cruel humour of the king, and sensitively shows his gradual decline into madness – his final scene is incredibly moving.”

Time Out: *** “A ‘Lear’ for the ages? Nuh-uh. But it’s a decent, dignified one, that shows even the Globe can strike a restrained note in these dark times.”

Culture Whisper: *** “While there’s enough talent and performative flair to make this version of Lear engaging, it’s a shame that the bolder exploration of homelessness and dislocation is left behind in vignettes and visuals.”

Exeunt Magazine: “Despite its flaws, this is a poignant approach to Shakespeare’s play, in which a simplified form often wrestles with complex content.”

The Upcoming: **** “King Lear at Shakespeare’s Globe is a fascinating interpretation thereof. It’s powerful, with outstanding performances, and made particularly effective by its outdoor setting – a recommended viewing.”

London Box Office: **** “a vivid staging of an undisputed masterpiece.”

King Lear continues to play at the Shakespeare’s Globe until the 14th October. For more information and to book tickets visit:


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