Northern Broadside's King Lear

Last week we booked tickets to see King Lear at the Lowry. When booking the tickets we hadn't realised that the performance was on Election Night but it seemed sort of appropriate....

Barry Rutter played the lead role of King Lear and, as expected, he was brilliant. The set was pared back and simple, the lighting wonderful and there was a brilliant, eerie music at the most dramatic moments.

King Lear is one of my favourite Shakespeare plays, it's so powerful and relevant for today, and I've seen it many, many times. This production, by Jonathan Miller, was one of my favourites, I think. He made it fresh and new, quite an achievement!

There are just so many wonderful moments in the play that I don't know where to start. The sub plot of Edgar and Edmund was acted so well and blended beautifully into the main plot, linking the downfall of Lear with the downfall of Gloucester. The sisters brilliant: Goneril and Reagan, so horrible and grasping yet so convincing to the gullible King. Cordelia so honest and unwilling to flatter. I love the lines they speak - " I love you more than word can wield the matter..."; "I love you more than eyesight, space and liberty" and those wonderful lines of Cordelia's:

Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave
My heart into my mouth. I love your Majesty
According to my bond; no more nor less. 

The theme of Nature is hugely important in King Lear and this production brought out every element of the natural world as well as our need to overcome our true "natures" and the simplicity of characters acting naturally. Even though I have seen the play many, many times there was a freshness about this production which made it exciting and accessible.

A wonderful evening's entertainment and, then we left the theatre and rejoined the real world....