King Lear (Alone)

William Shakespeare / Frank Bramwell
PQA Venues @Riddle’s Court

King Lear is an old man, slipping into senility. So he announces to his to his three daughters, Goneril, Regan and Cordelia that he intends to divide his kingdom in direct proportion to their love and loyalty.

Eldest Goneril speaks first and has much to say. Regan is next and, in true second child fashion, she declares all this and more. Lear is pleased. So, last but not least, honest Cordelia claims to love him as much and no more than a daughter should. Not quite what Lear was hoping, so she goes home with nothing.

But when Lear knocks on the door of Goneril and Regan expecting comfort and cover, he has no bargain chips to gain entrance. Without harbour and his entourage, he wander over the land and down into his darkness until he realizes, too late, that Cordelia’s love is what is real.

It is a tangled story at best. There’s a lot more intrigue but the three sisters' pare is what performer Bob Young and writer/director Frank Bramwell are focused on for this one-man show, King Lear (Alone).

Using the chopped up pieces of Shakespeare’s Lear, this asks too much of the audience and leaves gaping holes in the action. It’s hard to follow, especially if you don’t know the story. It just doesn’t hang together.

Under Bramwell’s direction, Young wanders back and forth across the stage occasionally addressing the back wall. When it works, it is powerful. But it really needs the rest of the cast to make this work.

Reviewer: Catherine Lamm

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