Queen Lear Savaged

The Melbourne Theatre Company’s much anticipated production of Queen Lear with Robyn Nevin in the title role as mother, not father, has been savaged by critics in the theatre press. I’ve plucked a few key words from several reviews to give readers of The Drama Teacher a picture:

cheerless, dark, deadly, dire, massacred, misled, misconceived, misdirected, baffling

No confusion here! What I saw this afternoon appeared underdone, that’s for sure. Scenes where actors recited lines without feeling or intent, wooden acting by one or two that was truly cringeworthy, a set deliberately void of time or place making it hard for both actors and audience, not to mention moments of dialogue spoken so fast, I wondered what the rush was all about?

For me, it didn’t quite work with a woman as the Queen in this play. The individual will have different opinions on a Queen as one of playwriting’s most demanding roles. Robyn Nevin, widely regarded as the doyenne of Australian theatre and one of this country’s finest actors, is probably not at her best in this production, either.

Judging by the number of people dosing off in the audience, engagement was an issue. I certainly couldn’t connect with it, that’s for sure. What a pity.

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