Sunday, 20 March 2011

Review of Derek Jacobi's King Lear.

No doubt I will be waffling on about my allotment after I have been down there this afternoon, but for now I have a review for you! At this stage perhaps I should say that this review is purely my opinion - other reviews are available!

Yesterday I went to see Derek Jacobi in King Lear at Milton Keynes Theatre. I was expecting great things having read the play at A Level a long time ago and considering it a favourite. I was also thrilled to be able to see Derek Jacobi - such a renowned actor.

I have to say that the production really didn't do anything for me. There were highlights in the performances of Gina McKee ( Goneril) and Gwilym Lee (Edgar), but I was so disappointed by Derek Jacobi.

 Gina McKee's performance was mesmerising - her voice a joy to listen to, using her full range effortlessly. Her stillness and stage presence came naturally and could teach many an actor the importance of quiet. My eyes were drawn to her Goneril whenever she was on stage and her cruelty was palpable.

Gwilym Lee's Edgar was moving and credible, although his appearance in a nude loincloth was a tad disconcerting.

As for Derek Jacobi - I'm afraid I was forever aware that he was 'a MARVELLOUS SHAKESPEARIAN ACTOR'. His range consisted ( as did that of most of the cast ) of shouting awfully loudly in a plummy Shakespearian voice or squeaking. I was totally unmoved. I never once forgot that I was in the theatre at Milton Keynes. What a shame.

When I went to see Lenny Henry in Othello I lost myself completely in the words, the emotion. Tears streamed down my face as the tragedy unfolded. With this Lear I struggled to stay awake and felt only irritation when Jacobi entered carrying the body of Cordelia, screaming in grief. The only grief I felt was annoyance that he was making such an irritating noise.

Of course, this is only my opinion. My sister in law enjoyed the production, but even then I think 'enjoyed the production' is as far as we could go. My highlight of the afternoon was my chat with the lady on the car parking phoneline ...


Masia Mum said...

Just found your blog via "Bag Lady".

Shakespeare can sometimes bring out the worst in actors - years ago on TV Derek Jacobi was superb in "I Claudius" and then apparently sent several years afraid of performing on stage after forgetting his words in a production.

When a production is given a lot of hype because of the cast, or director or whatever I think you can actually feel let down when it doesn't reach the heights you anticipated. Conversely isn't it great when you unexpectedly discover a gem?

Have you been following the Danish TV series "The Killing" - now that really has been a find. Catch up with it if you can.

Gail said... least you had the opportunity to go.

sarah at secret housewife said...

Hi Masia Mum, thanks for dropping by and leaving such an interesting comment! I didn't know that about Derek Jacobi. I absolutely loved him in I Claudius - it was a must see series in our house. I think that's one of the reasons I was so disappointed with this production - I expected so much. With Lenny Henry I didn't really expect anything and was given a lovely surprise.

And yes, Gail, I am very lucky to have gone. I did enjoy the experience, the afternoon out and I felt privileged to have seen the production - I was just disappointed. I am very fortunate though to be able to go to the theatre like that.


Caz said...

Although you didn't enjoy this one, you are so lucky you're able to see these 'renowned actors' live and in the flesh. We're reduced to seeing them via telecast from the National Theatre. Last year I saw Dame Helen Mirren in Phedra and was totally smitten!