King Lear Review REVIEWS

Opening Night:
Closing:
Open Ended

Theater:

Synopsis: 

“Nothing will come of nothing,” chides King Lear when his favorite daughter, the honest Cordelia, refuses to dote on him as richly as he demands. Enraged, he disinherits her, dividing her share of his realm between her honey-tongued but stone-hearted sisters, Goneril and Regan. From this vain fit of pique the rest of Lear’s troubles derive; and at this moment in Sam Gold’s handsome, scattered staging, one begins to sense that this production of Shakespeare’s tragedy, with the estimable but withholding Glenda Jackson in the title role, may not deliver the greatness it promises.

In his pivotal rejection of Cordelia, this Lear seems less furious than peevish, which proves true of Jackson’s performance throughout. So deeply does Jackson adopt the king’s sense of entitlement, perhaps, that she barely stoops to emotional display at all. With her cracked cheeks and acidic voice, the great English actor—who made a stunning return to the Broadway stage last year in Three Tall Women—ploughs through the text with withering dismissiveness. She is small and nearly self-contained: declamatory and well-spoken, but detached from the action. Her Lear never seems to lose his marbles; he merely seems inclined to play with them alone, leaving everyone around him to scrounge for other games.

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King Lear (BAM 2014) OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

  • NY TIMES

  • TM

  • VARIETY

  • VULTURE

  • HR

Opening Night:
January 7, 2014
Closing:
February 9, 2014

Theater: BAM Harvey Theater / 651 Fulton Street, New York, NY,

Synopsis: 

A legendary presence on stage and screen, Tony Award-winning and Oscar-nominated actor Frank Langella takes on King Lear. Betrayed by his daughters and shaken by his own mortality, Shakespeare’s aging patriarch wanders mad, as a kingdom disintegrates in the wake of his divested power. Langella joins forces with Britain’s Olivier Award-winning company Chichester Festival Theatre to present this monumental interpretation of the Bard’s tragedy.

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF King Lear (BAM 2014)

    With Rage, He Flails in a World Gone Deaf

    Ben Brantley

    January 16, 2014: Hey, who shut off the power? A magnificent incredulity flows, as hot and coursing as lava, from Frank Langella’s King Lear when he discovers that people are no longer quaking when he commands. It is evident in the affronted set of those boulder shoulders that here is someone who has never, ever been disobeyed. You just know that whether on the battlefield, at court or in the bedroom, Lear has always had only to crook his finger — and Mr. Langella knows how to crook — to have his every whim acted upon. And now, what’s this? Lesser mortals are ignoring the king’s demands, as if he were just anybody. Make that nobody. And that’s a shock to the system from which this aged monarch will never recover.

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  • THEATERMANIA REVIEW OF King Lear (BAM 2014)

    King Lear: A new production of a Shakespearean classic comes to Brooklyn via Chinchester.

    Zachary Stewart

    January 17, 2014: A truly great play gives you something new with each viewing. Shakespeare's King Lear is undoubtedly one of the greatest from an already much-lauded playwright. The Chinchester Festival Theatre production, which stars Frank Langella in the title role, emanates a freshness that invades your nostrils from the very earliest moments. This riveting and violent Lear is now making its U.S. premiere at BAM's Harvey Theater. It's a revival of a classic that few are likely to forget.

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  • VARIETY REVIEW OF King Lear (BAM 2014)

    Off Broadway Review: ‘King Lear’ Starring Frank Langella

    Marilyn Stasio

    January 16, 2014: Given Frank Langella’s rock-solid stage background, it should come as no surprise that the old lion makes a formidable monarch in King Lear. Under Angus Jackson’s firm helming, the Chichester Festival Theater production of the Shakespeare tragedy is all business — no bells, no whistles, no bluster. Super-clean staging and tight ensemble work provide strong support for Langella, who turns in a thoughtful, moving, and well-rounded perf that is only the teensiest bit hammy. (Die, already!)

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  • VULTURE REVIEW OF King Lear (BAM 2014)

    Theater Review: Kissing the Hand of Frank Langella, in King Lear

    Jesse Green

    January 17, 2014: In his recent quasi-memoirs, Frank Langella lives up to his first name, candidly describing the sexual juju that, in his youth, he so graciously shared with his older leading ladies. It’s outrageous boasting, of course, but completely believable if you’ve ever seen him onstage, because he sure likes to screw with an audience. I can only hope he left Rita Hayworth and Yvonne DeCarlo as satisfied as he leaves us.

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  • HOLLYWOOD REPORTER REVIEW OF King Lear (BAM 2014)

    King Lear: Theater Review

    David Rooney

    January 17, 2014: In an abundant season of Shakespeare that has ranged from the exhilarating Elizabethan presentations on Broadway of the Globe’s Twelfth Night/Richard III double to the bewitching stagecraft of Julie Taymor’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, star-driven Shakespeare seems almost passé. But a persuasive argument in its favor comes via Frank Langella’s mighty interpretation of the broken monarch in King Lear. The actor’s emotionally and physically potent performance is fortified by sterling work from an accomplished ensemble and simple but striking design choices, making Angus Jackson’s vigorous production as lucid and gripping an account of this classic tragedy as an audience could desire.

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