Lear Alone - Edinburgh Fringe Festival (UK)
Reviewed by Justin Clarke
theSpaceTriplex - Studio
15:05 - Aug 15-19
Suitability: 12+ (Guideline)
Country: United Kingdom - England
Group: And Tomorrow Theatre Company
Warnings and additional info: None
- An immersive and unique take on one of Shakespeare’s classics isolating the figure of Lear both literally and symbolically -
It’s a given rule that if you visit the Edinburgh Fringe Festival you have to see an improvised show and a Shakespeare production. After all, they’re the necessities of any Fringe Festival! Taking the idea of a one man show and adding the Shakespearen twist to it, And Tomorrow Theatre Company take the Bard’s King Lear and remove all the characters’ lines apart from its titular man. In doing so, the themes of isolation and ageing loneliness are thrust to the forefront of the production.
Directed by Anthony Shrubsall, Lear Alone sees Edmund Dehn take on all the lines of ageing King Lear as he divides his kingdom amongst his three daughters, Gonerill, Regan and Cordelia. With only himself on stage Dehn pointedly targets each character he is interacting or responding to, inviting the audience to engage their imagination. The only addition given by Shrubsall is voiceovers of voice messages left by Lear’s daughter wondering where he is and why he hasn’t contacted her. Therein lies the intrigue of the work, the world of Shakespeare and our world are paralleled throughout. Lucid moments of isolation and spiralling madness are spotlighted to capture Shakespeare’s messages left in the paper.
Dehn does a superb job as Lear. It’s a feat in itself to perform only the lines of one character in such an intricate play as King Lear and Dehn never falters. The difficulty comes if you do not truly know the story of King Lear. The basics are there for you to grasp onto - Goneril and Regan are nasty, Cordelia truly loves her father, Lear is going mad with age. The rest would become lost in the empty void if you were not already familiar. Nonetheless, the transformation of the piece itself would allow you to see it in a new light either as a first timer, or a Bard aficionado.
Take a chance on something unique for your Fringe Festival bingo card and go on a journey with an ageing man, who highlights resonating truths of the human experience.
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