Sunday, February 15, 2009

KING LEAR: 9.85--I have seen Laurence Olivier, Anthony Quayle and Michael Hordern in this part and, for me, Hordern is the best. He posseses an ability to project his sufferings outwards in a way that is beyond Olivier and Quayle, who present softer and more interior Lears. Needless to say, then, I rate this BBC production very highly. Lear in its uncompromising concentration on man in the "nude", "naked" man, brings us face to face with everyman's beginning and end. Probably, it is Shakespeare's greatest tragedy. If I had to carp, I would ask why none of Lear's 100 retainers possessed a castle where the old man could stay after being kicked out by Goneril and Regan! (but perhaps such a question would be churlish?).

KING JOHN: 8.75--Leonard Rossiter was made for this role, precisely capturing John's sly craftiness. The play was apparently one of Shakespeare's most frequently performed in the 19th century, due to its visual emphasis on pomp and ceremony. It tells a good story, and deserves more than the present neglect (into which it has fallen).

THE TEMPEST: 9--Another vehicle for Hordern, this time as Prospero. A somewhat fantastic play, but filled with great poetry (the latter, much used and adapted by T.S. Eliot in "The Wasteland").


Anonymous zirkon said...

Hamlet is the best!

1:28 AM  

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