Theatre

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The Independent Culture
'It's a domestic drama about a close-knit family. You have to keep that constantly in mind for it to work.' Rather than, say, Swiss Family Robinson Lee Beagley, who runs Kaboodle, is talking about King Lear. 'Shakespeare is also writing about the vanity of any particular time and the way in which people ingratiate themselves to stay in power.'

Reading Robert Stephens' reviews for the recent RSC production, you could be forgiven for thinking that King Lear is a one-man show. In fact, in addition to the title role, you can't get away without a decent Edgar, Edmund, Gloucester and Fool, not to mention the daughters. That alone makes it an ideal play for a real ensemble company like Kaboodle to tackle. Since its first performance two years ago, the production (alongside A View from the Bridge, seen at the Watermans Arts Centre earlier this year) has become something of an autograph work. 'It's a synthesis of our styles of work over the past 10 years. We've worked on all kinds of imaginative and explosive techniques but I'm not interested in tricksy theatre where the acting is bad. Nor is this a bunch of 16 actors auditioning for something bigger and better. We're doing Lear because it's a great story that's worth telling.'

The production (above) has gathered reviews to die for on its national and international tours and opened last night at the Bloomsbury Theatre for its very last run. If it's energy and imagination you're after, don't miss it.

'King Lear' is at the Bloomsbury Theatre (071-388 8822)

(Photograph omitted)

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