King Lear at the New London Theater or: I saw Gandalf’s willie last night

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Last night was what shall be known as the Ian McKellan King Lear at the New London Theater (where my uncle saw Cats “back when they were just kittens”), which the three of us saw with Wechsler. I wish I could go on and on about how brilliant it was, but it was as brilliant as a Lexus or something – really well designed but not, somehow, compelling. Yeah, Sir Ian handled Lear’s entire mental arc very nicely, but I just didn’t really care. I was bizarrely caught up in the Gloucester story, which, truth (and uncle) be told, could have been utterly excised and left the plot intact. It was neat to really catch Cordelia’s humiliation, and Goneril and Regan were just brilliantly evil, but … I don’t know. We had good seats. I was not moved. (Wechsler was moved to leave during intermission due to post-new-flat exhaustion. I was a bit sorry I hadn’t just been able to scalp his ticket, but there you go.)

Also, it appears “the second Doctor” or some such was in this show as the Jester, but I don’t know one from the other and didn’t buy a program so can’t say for certain. At the end there was a bit of a standing ovation, but I’m not going to clap for Sir Ian because he’s Sir Ian, I would only clap for the actor who played Lear last night, and he was good, but he didn’t move me. Maybe the show’s just been running for so long that it’s lost all of its energy. God only knows I’ve lost most of mine.

(This review is for the performance of Monday, November 26th.)

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One Response to “King Lear at the New London Theater or: I saw Gandalf’s willie last night”

  1. Review – King Lear – The Malachites at Peckham Asylum Chapel | Life in the Cheap Seats - Webcowgirl's London theatre reviews Says:

    […] expecting Lears to collapse on or off stage from the effort the role requires? I thought when I saw Ian McKellan in it some years ago that it was supposed to represent the crown to a career, not a tombstone; but […]

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