by Paula Citron
It is the powerful attraction of actor/director Brian Bedford that is drawing people to King Lear and giving him his standing ovation. In truth, the production is disappointing. Not so much Bedford himself, whose command of Shakespearean language is non-pareil. Rather, it seems Bedford forgot to direct anyone else.
There is a staggering amount of talent on the stage but the production is routine, conventional and bland. In other words, it is a King Lear with no surprises. The reason we see these Shakespearean classics again and again is for fresh insights. There are none here. Nonetheless, the production is perfectly serviceable.
It doesn’t help that Lear’s two oldest daughters are the geriatric set and great actors like Peter Donaldson and Bernard Hopkins seem to be going through the motions. Only Bedford and Dion Johnstone as Edmund have any real vibrancy.
Ann Curtis’ costumes are gorgeous, however and grace the barest of stages.
King Lear continues until Oct. 28.
From the Stratford Festival Theatre, I’m Paula Citron, arts reviewer for CLASSICAL 96.3 FM.