You’d think I’d have had enough of Weasel-time after the last couple of weeks but nothing of the kind! Today I was off to the Globe to see King Lear with them.
Before I headed down to the theatre, though, I had to pop into the flat to collect all of the old £1 coins which will no longer be usable after next weekend. Given Mirinda had a quite nice collection of around £100, we couldn’t really ignore them. I’ll take them to the bank during the week.
Of course, having been to the flat, I had to take a photo of the Maine Tower progress, particularly given I’ve not seen it for over a month.
It was then on to Borough Market for cheese and saucisson before meeting up at the Anchor (as per) for a few much appreciated pints of beer and some rambunctious fun. And then the Globe.
Now Lear is not a play I’m comfortable with. It’s very easy to put the king’s strange decision to divide his kingdom between his three daughters then change his mind because only two of them flatter him mercilessly, down to some sort of advancing dementia but I don’t buy it. I think it’s a cheap device to give a bit of family drama and send Lear gradually mad.
Still, I was looking forward to this production because I’ve yet to see it at the Globe. And I do LOVE Globe productions. It’s also the last play under Emma Rice’s artistic directorship…which is very sad if you ask me. Directed by always reliable Nancy Meckler, Lear proved to be a good, solid production with plenty of laughs, chills and madness.
Nancy was artistic director at Shared Experience for 20 years and we saw and enjoyed a number of her productions. In fact I think she borrowed from her production of Mother Courage in terms of the beginning and the end of this Lear. The cast entered wearing modern street clothes, stuffed packs on their backs, as if a motley crew was arriving for work. I didn’t think it worked but I guess it did bracket the play.
Her direction was excellent though and while Kevin McNally was a very good Lear, I thought that Saskia Reeves as Kent shone out completely. She was utterly believable. An excellent performance. In fact, the sisters were excellent too. I’d go so far as to say that the women in this production outshone and dominated the men. To be fair, that IS the play but even so…some excellent casting.
Of course, as usual, it’s the ensemble that matters at the Globe and the cast all worked beautifully together. As did the band.
This was the final performance (I think) so Lear pulled down a bit of the scenery and then a whole bunch of steeple jacks arrived to start stripping everything away. It was an amazingly efficient display of aerial acrobatics. Most notably, the ushers did not usher us out as quickly as possible. In fact they didn’t usher us at all.
Of course we went for beers afterwards…well, most of us did. Starting at the George and ending up at the Coal Hole, we had a few pints followed by a bratwurst from Herman the German before heading home.
It was a lovely day and, best of all, we had our very own King Lear with us! This is Darren shortly after being mistaken for Lear at the Globe after the performance.