Wednesday, February 19

Stage: Michael Pennington stars as King Lear

- April 19, 2016

If you ask most English people what their favourite Shakespeare play is it will probably be one that they studied for A Level at school. I suppose it is a play studied in-depth that one will have a deeper understanding of and for me that is King Lear. I love it more than any other. If you are not familiar with it, then do not worry, it’s a great, sprawling family drama full of twists and intrigues not unlike those in a modern soap, but dare I say it, better conceived and better written. You may not have seen the play but you may have seen it in part in the final scenes of Ronald Harwood’s excellent play and film ‘The Dresser’.
Now, renowned Shakespearean actor Michael Pennington (four time Olivier award nominated) plays the title role in a new production of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedy.
Director Max Webster leads a creative team including designer Adrian Linford, Olivier award-winning lighting designer Natasha Chivers, and composer Matthew Bugg for Royal & Derngate Northampton’s major new production.
In Shakespeare’s epic tragedy, an ageing tyrant’s decision to divide his kingdom tears his family apart, sparks catastrophic civil war and destroys all that he has.
Driven from his home, King Lear endures madness and great suffering as he battles a great storm. Yet with madness he finds reason, after betrayal he discovers loyalty and through his suffering a better world emerges.
Michael Pennington has played numerous roles with the Royal Shakespeare Company in a career spanning over 50 years, and was co-founder of the English Shakespeare Company. Recent notable performances have been as Edgar in Strindberg’s ‘The Dance of Death’, at the Gate Theatre, John of Gaunt in ‘Richard II’ (RSC), and as Anthony Blunt in Alan Bennett’s ‘Single Spies’ at the Rose Theatre Kingston. He played the role of Lear to great acclaim at the Shakespeare Center New York in 2014. This new production will see Michael play the role in the UK for the first time.
Director Max Webster commented: “In the year that marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, it’s thrilling to be directing one of his greatest tragedies, and to be working with Michael, who is one of the most respected Shakespearean actors of our time. I look forward to our talented cast bringing a gripping new interpretation to audiences across the UK.”
King Lear, Theatre Royal Brighton, Tue 3 – Sat 7 May, Eves 7.45pm, Thu & Sat mats 2.30pm
0844 871 7650 (bkg fees apply)

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