Co-produced with the Jack Studio Theatre
October 17th – November 4th 2006
Director and Designer: Jennifer Lunn
Lighting: Phil Shaw
Fight Direction: Rachel Bown-Williams and Ruth Cooper-Brown for RC-Annie
Set amidst the gangster underworld of 1950’s London, Culturcated Theatre Company’s sell-out production presented a brutal new realisation of Shakespeare’s King Lear.
Cast: Ian Lindsay, Debra Baker, Sara Kewly, Rachael Halliwell, Simon Money, Nick Kneller, Jonathan Tanner, Peter Ormond, Bradley Benjamin, Robert Cavazos, Stephen MacNiece, Rob Benson, Matt Stacy, Martin Copland-Gray.
“In pursuit of a time and place for King Lear, the Culturcated Theatre Company hit upon the fifties London of Ronnie and Reggie Kray.
Gangster suits, throbbing motorbikes and a horribly realistic punch-up between Edward and Edgar sit awkwardly with Shakespeare’s noble language and the pagan gods of a very remote past.
But the comparison underlines effectively the thuggish brutality of the villains, notably in a painfully protracted eye-gouging scene and, under Jennifer Lunn’s lucid direction, this production achieves great clarity of meaning and direct emotional appeal.
It fully justifies its three-hour running time, unusually long for an independent theatre.
At the production’s breaking heart is Ian Lindsay as a winningly human Lear. Best known as George in Men Behaving Badly, he delivers a devastated king, wrestling physically with overwhelming sorrow and regret.
Shrunken and vulnerable, he is towered over spitefully by the sharp-featured Regan (Sara Kewly).
We are as bewildered as he that he could inspire anything other than the devotion of his plain-speaking Kent (Martin Copland-Gray), his loveable Fool (Robert Carragher) and the simple, sincere Cordelia (Rachael Halliwell).
The other performances also deserve mention, not least Simon Money’s cocaine-snorting, slick, spiv-like Edmund.”