Quite an evening last night at the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company.
This production of King Lear is excellent. Bruce Cromer presents an unforgettable Lear in all his majesty and his madness. The villains are as cold as any ever written. When the Duke of Cornwall gouges out Gloucester’s eyes, it is chillingly believable. When he in turn receives his death blow and his wife Regan walks away – again, believable.
Giles Davies as Edmund, the bastard who would be Earl, is the best villain of all. Willing to be the lover of both wives, willing to betray everyone in his way, he is flexible, creative – and evil. A perfect Giles role, played perfectly. Jeff Sanders as Edgar deserves a special mention. And Matt Johnson’s Fool is terrific work.
This is a great company, talented and versatile. The stage set, bare, with black wooden chairs and the back wall used imaginatively, kept us focused on the words and actions. Only later would I realize how well this production was done.
The play is a downer. The bad guys are vanquished – but so is nearly everyone else. And in worse fashion than in Hamlet.
Go see it anyway – especially if you like horror movies. Some of Shakespeare’s best lines and best ideas. And an outstanding production.