THEATRE / Critical round-up

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Royal Court, London SW1

'(Max Stafford-Clark's) Lear has energy, momentum and pace, and, except when Iain Glen's harried Edgar lapses into what might be Esperanto, it is also comprehensibly enough delivered. Moreover, Tom Wilkinson makes a good, solid Lear and, at times, something more.' Benedict Nightingale, Times

'Tom Wilkinson's superb performance in the title role digs deep into the dark core of the drama. He's a great bear of a man, and his awesome rages are both terrifying and strangely moving, the sheer pressure of emotion occasionally reducing him to baffled silence. His fear of madness is presented with heartbreaking simplicity, and he movingly shows that as Lear's suffering grows, so does his humanity.' Charles Spencer, Telegraph

'Clearly the challenge was to find a new approach appropriate to the place. Stafford-Clark has pulled it off. This is not the classic Lear of grand poetry and sweeping gestures. It is more a bourgeois soap than a regal tragedy. But for the first time in my experience it comes across as a cracking good story.' Malcolm Rutherford, Financial Times

'My feelings about Max Stafford- Clark's new production of King Lear at the Royal Court are ambivalent. It is well paced, well spoken, well cast: an extremely accomplished Shakespearian debut. Judged on the highest level, however, it is almost too ordered and logical to usher us into the wilder extremes of human suffering.' Michael Billington, Guardian