The Bath Shakespeare Festival opened with the latest from Hull-born actor Barrie Rutter's Northern Broadsides theatre company, which specialises in no-frills interpretations of the classics, especially Shakespeare, in alternative venues - industrial mill buildings, for example. Previously, Richard III and A Midsummer Night's Dream have been subjected to the Rutter treatment.
Who's In it?
Rutter (right) has taken on the ambitious task of directing and starring in the production, with Deborah McAndrew as Goneril. Frank Moorey as Gloucester, Craig Cheetham as Edmund and Duggie Brown as the banjo-strumming Fool.
What They Say About It
"It is the worst King Lear I have ever seen, and I watched it throughout unmoved and dry-eyed. Even the normally infallible scene when Lear wakes from madness to be reunited with Cordelia seems less affecting than a Cilla Black-sponsored family reunion on Surprise Surprise," Charles Spencer, The Daily Telegraph.
"Brisk and pacy... Rutter does not suggest much vulnerability, still less a mind, heart and soul in flames. Has he been distracted by his second job, which is directing the most challenging play in the canon? Or is lack of subtlety the unavoidable result of the company's trademark approach? I'd like to believe the first, but I fear the second is the truth of it," Benedict Nightingale, The Times.
Where You Can See It
King Lear is at the The Spinning Lobby, Salt Mill, Bradford (01274 531163) 5- 11 Sept and then on tour. Tour information: 01422 369704