Friday, October 14, 2016

CT Theater Review: King Lear -- CT Repertory

Raphael Nash Thompson (Gloucester). Photo: Gerry Goodstein.
King Lear
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Dale AJ Rose
CT Repertory
through Oct. 16

By Lauren Yarger
What's It all About?

Shapkespeare's tragedy of betrayal, coinciding with the recent stop at UConn of the Folger Shakespeare Library’s national tour of "First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare." Graeme Malcom is a brilliant King Lear and third-year MFA student Arlene Bozich is a star to watch as his eldest daughter, Goneril.

I will spare you the plot -- check the Sparks Notes -- but this is as solid a production of Lear as I ever have seen (kudos to Director Dale AJ Rose). A strong ensemble cast includes Michael Bobenhausen, Darren Brown, Natalia Cuevas, Jeff DeSisto, Curtis Longfellow, Emile Saba, Meredith Saran, Bryce Wood. Kent Coleman, Nick Greika, Derrick Holmes, Scott Redmond, Ben Senkowski, Ryan Shea, Andrew Smith, and Kristen Wolfe.

What Are the Highlights?
Besides the pleasure of seeing Shakespeare done well, the action takes place on an impressive angled set designed with grey stone, towering doors and arches designed by Pedro L. Guevara. Minimal props and period costumes that range from armor to garb in earthy hues (thank you, no red sneakers for Lear) designed by Raven Ong help tell the tale without distracting from the language (of which most of the actors have strong command).

Malcolm, who appeared on Broadway in Equus, Translations, Aida and The King and I is a consummate Lear: a sad, mad dad who also makes us laugh. Bozich is a riveting Goneril and has a better grasp of Shakespeare's language than some actors on Broadway. She is fascinating to watch. Also standing out with commanding stage presence is Kent Coleman as the Earl of Kent.

Sound and special effects enhance the mood. The creative team includes: Margaret Peebles (Lighting Design), Justin Graziani (Sound Design), Greg Webster (Fight Choreography), Karen Ryker (Voice and Text Coach) and Ed Weingart (Technical Director).

What Are the Lowlights?
None.

More information:
King Lear plays at the Harriet S. Jorgensen Theatre on the Storrs UConn campus through Oct. 16.
Evening performances are 8 pm tonight 2 and 8 pm Saturday and 2 pm Sunday. Tickets are $7-$30:  www.crt.uconn.edu ; 860-486-2113.

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Lauren Yarger with playwright Alfred Uhry at the Mark Twain House. Photo: Jacques Lamarre)

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