After the successful Hamlet adaptation back in August, Big Finish returns to the Bard.
Cast & Characters
King Lear boasts an all-star cast of Big Finish regulars. Not the least of which being the great David Warner in the title role. He’s teamed up once again with Lisa Bowerman as Regan, having worked together on the most recent Bernice Summerfield series. Meanwhile, Louise Jameson, best known for Doctor Who and The Omega Factor, takes on Goneril alongside Finty Williams as Cordelia. While the entire cast do an excellent job, I think Bowerman deserves a lot of praise for her performance. It’s likely that a lot of people who pick up this production will be familiar with her role as Bernice Summerfield. But Bowerman has inhabited the character of Regan so effectively that it wasn’t hard to shake off that association when listening to her.
Other Accents Borrow
As usual, a lot of cast members pull double or triple duty on their roles. But this can get even more confusing since the play calls on several characters to disguise themselves. So the cast members needed to be versatile enough to not only play multiple characters, but to play the same character in different ways. For the most part, they pull this off superbly though there were a few times when it’s easy to mix up who’s who. If you’re coming at this release with no experience of the source material, you may struggle in places. Despite a three hours length, the cast keep the pace going through every scene and that seemingly hefty runtime evaporates quickly.
Reverbs No Hollowness
The talented team at Big Finish have constructed a cinematic adaptation of ‘King Lear’ for audio. Lear’s speech in the storm is undoubtedly one of Big Finish’s greatest achievements in merging actor and sound effect. A well-selected cast and astute talent behind the script proves that Big Finish has a future with the theatre.
Blogtor Rating – 9/10
‘Oh, let me not be mad…’
In an ancient Britain of warring nobles and sibling rivalries, power is a precarious thing. When the ageing King Lear declares that he will divide his kingdom in three to prevent future strife, he unwittingly sets in motion a chain of events that will unravel into treachery, horror, conflict and death.
Renowned for its pathos and poetry as much as for its savage violence, Shakespeare’s wildest tragedy remains as thrilling and relevant today as when it was first performed: King Lear is a tale of politics, ambition, greed, vanity, betrayal, love, pride, madness, war and bloody vengeance.
Adapted for audio by Nicholas Pegg
Consultant: Dr Martin Wiggins, The Shakespeare Institute
Producer: David Richardson
Executive Producers: Nicholas Briggs and Jason Haigh-Ellery
Written By: William Shakespeare
Directed By: Barnaby Edwards
David Warner (King Lear), Louise Jameson (Goneril), Lisa Bowerman (Regan), Finty Williams (Cordelia), Mike Grady (The Fool), Tony Millan (The Earl of Gloucester / First Messenger), Paul Shelley (The Earl of Kent), Ray Fearon (The Duke of Cornwall), Nicholas Pegg (The Duke of Albany / Gloucester’s Servant / Curan), Raymond Coulthard (Edmund / Cornwall’s Servant / Second Messenger / Second Gentleman), Gwilym Lee (Edgar / Duke of Burgundy), Trevor Cooper (Oswald / Lear’s Gentleman / Third Messenger), Barnaby Edwards (The King of France / Old Man / Herald). Other parts played by members of the cast.