King Lear

by William Shakespeare

directed by Ken Hann

Presented at the

Nuffield Theatre, Southampton


Tuesday 13th to Saturday 17th February 2007

Review from the Hampshire Chronicle

Maskers Triumph in King Lear at the Nuffield Theatre

The Maskers' presentation of Shakespeare's King Lear at the Nuffield Theatre was a compact, dynamic performance -- no easy accomplishment considering the tortuousness of the plot and the length of the original play. The uncut version (almost never performed today) last about five hours; the Maskers two and a half hours had a shape and momentum for which the director, Ken Hann, must be congratulated. Especially effective was the original music by Chris Hann and the simple, effective grandeur of John Hamon's set.

In a cast which gave much subtlety of portrayal and in which there was no perceptible weak link, it is difficult to select individual performances for comment. John Souter's towering performance as Lear deserves the highest praise -- his painful descent from omnipotence to madness touchingly marked with quiet intervals of self-recognition as he watches his own disintegration.

Rarely can the blinding of Gloucester have been so effectively managed. Dispensing altogether with the customary chair, Ken Hann has Cornwall and his henchmen committing their barbaric act with all the viciousness of modern day street thuggery. From this moment on, the figure of Philip de Grouchy's Gloucester haunts the memory with its pathos.

Other memories remain: the oily obsequiousness of Brian Stansbridge's treacherous Oswald; the sustained grif of the tall, hooded figure of Alan Watson's Kent; the wonderfully balletic feigned madness of Rob Praine's "Poor Tom". And again, above all, the sheer momentum of the whole play.

Review in The Southern Evening Echo 13th February 2007

On a richly-hued and subtly-lit set, the tragedy of King Lear, his family and his court was played out to a packed and supportive opening-night audience.

In the title role, John Souter commanded the play from the outset, changing from imperious monarch to raging madman as his family betrays him and his kingdom is fragmented and attacked - particularly moving was the scene of reconciliation between Lear and his youngest daughter Cordelia (a sensitive Rachel Courage). A confident and superbly-costumed company brought deception, treachery and betrayal, played out against a backdrop of thunder and lightning, vividly to the stage. Rob Praine as Edgar stood out as the wronged son of the loyal Earl of Gloucester, while Matt Avery brought superb presence and clarity to the role of the devious Edmond. This is a production that will mature and develop - catch it before its run ends on Saturday

The Cast
Lear, King of Britain John Souter
Gonerill, his daughter Maria Head
Regan, his daughter Sarah Spencer
Cordelia, his daughter Rachael Courage
The Duke of Albany, husband to Goneril Ian Morley
The Duke of Cornwall, husband to Regan Steve Clark
The Earl of Gloucester, Philip de Grouchy
Edgar, his eldest son Rob Praine
Edmond, his bastard son Matt Avery
The Earl of Kent Alan Watson
Fool, in Lear's service Graham Buchanan
The King of France Adam Taussik
The Duke of Burgundy, suitor for Cordelia David Collis
Oswald, Gonerill's steward Brian Stansbridge
Old Man, in Gloucester's service David Collis
Captain Adam Taussik
Messenger Joanna Iacovou
Knights, attendants and servants Adam Taussik, David Collis

Production Team
Director Ken Hann
Assistant to the Director Avril Woodward
Production Manager Graham Buchanan
Assistant Production Manager Joanna Iacovou
Stage Manager Kathryn Salmon
Assistant Stage Manager David Jupp
Lighting Design Clive Weeks
Lighting Operation David Illsey
Sound Design Geoff Grandy
Sound Operation Geoff Grandy, Sarah-Jane Wareham
Properties Gill Buchanan, Ella Lockett, Alison Tebutt
Costume Design Kay Hann
Seamstresses Helen Officer, Christine Baker, Jane Weeks,
Enid Mulholland, Kay Hann
Set Design John Hamon
Set Construction David Jupp, Graham Buchanan, John Hamon
Stage Crew Jonny Hearn, Jamie McCarthy, David Fancett
Geoff Cook, Ben Sillifant, Shaun Moncaster, Carl Wyett
Marketing Angela Stansbridge
Publicity Design John Hamon
Music composed and performed by Chris Hann
Vocals Dom Meacher
Logo and Programme Design John Hamon
Photography Clive Weeks
Make up advice Lara Duncan
Make up Moyra Allen
Front of House Coordinator Julia Jupp


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Off Emsworth Road
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Established 1968

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