"He darts around the stage clad only in the streamers that marked the opening of the play, and during the storm reflects the rapidly disintegrating Lear."
Geoffrey Rush takes the role of King Lear in Sydney Theatre Company's last production of 2015. Robyn Nevin accompanies him as the Fool, transforming herself into a small man capable of both quick wit and moments of apathy, despair. But it's Lear's unravelling that pulls the play along, and that is done with precision by Rush, a Rush who begins with the full force of anger before tempering out into a humble, defeated man. As he casts one daughter out, and is betrayed by the other two, we see the many sides of a man, vain from power, coming face to face with his own rapidly deteriorating form, alone.
It's Mark Leonard Winter in the role of Edgar who is the most compelling to watch — having run away to escape his brother's ruthless machinations, Edgar hides as Poor Tom, a beggar, almost mad. He darts around the stage clad only in the streamers that marked the opening of the play, and during the storm reflects the rapidly disintegrating Lear. When Winter and Rush stand unclad together, desperate, beginning to come to terms with their loss of identity, the image is both powerful and full of a kind of dry, dark humour.
Set design from Robert Cousins and lighting from Nick Schlieper illuminate a stark backdrop for the play's second half, the nothingness of the white backdrop forcing characters to confront their truths and each other honestly, brutally, fully.
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