11 November 2013

King Lear (1974)

King Lear 1974
  • Director: Tony Davenall
  • Based on: Shakespeare
  • Cast: Patrick Magee, Patrick Mower, Ann Lynn, Beth Harris, Wendy Allnutt, Robert Coleby. Ronald Radd, Ray Smith, Ellis Jones
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor/actress in:
    • Patrick Magee  A Clockwork Orange, King Lear (Peter Brook version where he plays Cornwall)
    • Ann Lynn  A Shot in the Dark
    • Wendy Allnutt  Oh! What a Lovely War
    • Ray Smith  – A Family at War
    • Ellis Smith – Measure for Measure
  • Why? Shakespeare
  • Seen: November 9, 2013

      A more irritating production is hard to imagine.  From the beginning Lear’s monotonous gravelly voice gets on my nerves as do Cordelia’s big teary brown eyes.
       Essentially the entire cast orate their lines as stiffly and stagily as my sixth-grade theater group, sapping Shakespeare’s eternal drama of all genuine pathos.  Only Edmund and Edgar manage to act like real people at times.
       According to the DVD box this got an Emmy award. I can’t imagine why. I could hardly bear to watch it. If this hammy production was the only Shakespeare I had ever been exposed to, I would be like those who think he is silly, boring, stilted, “naw, never read’m” (to quote my own father).
       It grieves me. I’m sure they were all sincere in their efforts but even their sincerity is stilted.
       I kind of like Edgar here, though, and Kent, whom I never like, is sort of OK, so

1 * of 5


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