28th May – 27th June, 2021
As the 2021 Brighton fringe comes to its latter stages we were treated to a very entertaining play – an adaption of ‘King Lear’, presented by Oddbodies. This 5 act play was adapted and performed as a one-man show by Paul Morel.
The complicated story revolves around poor King Lear and his daughters who resolved to both kill him and kiss him. At a time when the (British kingdom) was being dissected into 3 and all stood on the shoulders of our royal patronage. It passed as a movie would but acted like a play, possibly adapted for film and theatre as something that came together from all sides working out very well as a whole Shakespeare production.
To give it a strong story he told it from the point of view of the fool who could’ve known the King the best. Wives, daughters, knights, soldiers and the rest all had the support of this fine actor as he delved into the story with great gusto and in a many faceted enterprise. He often sang us into the story or offered the plot movements through his guitar.
It was a way of telling that he threw so many broad accents into the web of happenings that were all related to plots and plans of demise and relocation in a fresh take on the story. While staying awesomely true to the original writing; he drew us in at a good pace, and played story teller as well, giving us ample opportunities to keep apace of the plot that had King Lear suffering.
The stage was darkly lit and it looked a little like an oil painting with a wooden chair, a guitar behind his moving mass of interaction between them. When one thing went a certain way there was bound to be someone it didn’t serve or simply that someone didn’t like. 6 stones were thrown with ripples reverberating but somehow due to its quality the steady pace induced an interesting story that wasn’t too much to handle.
It was a well held example of theatre coming together that had the timeless sense to it; visually and audibly. Simple to follow with all the swishes we would hope for and all the blood splashes and many dastardly deeds done in the shape of breaking Lear to ascend the throne. Lear was no victim at least so far as he knew and though he ruled the world was a fragile character who lost his trust with every turn of the story.
Reviewer: Daniel Donnelly