When our resident “theatre reviewer” Sam Hauck aka the Wine Teacher wasn’t available to attend the opening of King Lear two friends stepped up and with thanks to Sandy Kooner and Jennifer Penk we give thee the following reviews:
Bard on the Beach’s adaptation of King Lear was an amazing play to watch.
From its simplistic, understated, yet versatile set design, with the view towards the water and soft breeze flowing into the stage tent, to its authentic replica costumes, the play was abound with intrigue, humour and creativity. The performances from all the actors were superbly done, but quite especially from the passionate King Lear and the beguiling Edmund.
The play details drama, integrity, honour, love, manipulation, deceit, jealousy, and death. It is a play showing the divide and destruction of the family unit, with a King who had a life with his three daughters and the world, to a death knowing he caused the death of his daughters and a ruined legacy; sisters turning against sisters; a brother plotting against his own brother, and a best friend turning against a best friend.
Each act set into motion different events that would ultimately lead to catastrophe.
On a beautiful summer evening, with all seats in the audience in full attendance, to be able to watch a soulful, heart-wrenching performance was a great end to the day. This play seemed suitable to ages teen and up. A wonderful venue!
Watching Shakespeare’s “King Lear” against a backdrop of ocean and mountains while the sun sets on a beautiful summer evening; can it get any better? Yes it can! Add to that a cold glass of chardonnay and stellar performances by Benedict Campbell (King Lear) and Michael Blake (Edmund), and you have yourself a perfect evening.
In “King Lear”, Shakespeare, as he often does, captures and examines the universal struggles of being human; namely, the undoing of a family due to lust for money and power. As in all tragedies, we see the downfall of the King, but not before he recognizes his own folly, which of course leaves the audience feeling satisfied that lessons have been learnt (not only by the characters in the play, but by the viewers themselves.)
This play is not for the faint of heart or squeamish either. We witness a graphic scene where the Earl of Gloucester has his eyes put out, and very little is left to the imagination here!
Despite being a tragedy, the play has many comic moments, which add to the show. Towards the end, Lear wakes up in a daze, and seeing French flags all around him asks in confusion, “Are we in France?”
Edmund, the illegitimate son of the Earl of Gloucester, plays a convincing and engaging villain. His personality and confidence more than fill the stage, and no viewer is left wondering why two of Lear’s daughters fall in love with him.
Having never been to Bard on the Beach, I really had no idea what to expect. I was very impressed with all aspects of the experience. From the easy access, (and free!) parking, to the courteous staff, and the venue itself, I really cannot find a single negative thing to say. I would recommend attending a play, any play, at Bard on the Beach; you will not be disappointed.