King Lear (BAM)
Closed 3h 15m
King Lear (BAM)
80

King Lear (BAM) NYC Reviews and Tickets

80%
(58 Reviews)
Positive
88%
Mixed
10%
Negative
2%
Members say
Great acting, Great writing, Intelligent, Intense, Great staging

About the Show

BAM's presentation of the RSC production of Shakespeare's great tragedy features Olivier Award-winning actor Sir Antony Sher as the all-too-trusting monarch in the twilight of his sanity.

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Member Reviews (58)

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965 Reviews | 339 Followers
80
Absorbing, Ambitious, Intense, Thought-provoking, Intelligent

See it if you like WS; RSC is the gold standard. KL is intelligent and accessible. The words can be (mostly) understood. A flaw: Sher disappoints.

Don't see it if Lear upsets you (enucleated eye scene is gory!) The sets are minimal, but have majesty. Many strong actors, w/standouts Goneril & Edmund. Read more

677 Reviews | 152 Followers
83
Absorbing, Ambitious, Great acting, Dizzying, Confusing

See it if you are a fan of Shakespeare done traditionally, want to see a production of Lear, like the actor Anthony Sher & English actors' voices

Don't see it if 3-1/2 hours is too long to sit, you can't understand the Bard's English, find it difficult to keep track of actors in multiple roles,

406 Reviews | 188 Followers
82
Absorbing, Great staging, Great acting, Masterful

See it if You want to watch Sir Anthony Sher and the RSC perform the full length Lear without frills. Superior actors and flawless direction.

Don't see it if You need the abridged version, and cannot sit for 3 hours and 20 minutes. You prefer modern versions of Shakespeare.

387 Reviews | 132 Followers
80
Great acting, Thought-provoking, Slow, Conservative approach is paradoxically refreshing, Head not heart

See it if you want to see an entirely respectable production of King Lear. A thoughtful understanding of the characters’ underlying resentments.

Don't see it if you can’t bear a slow build for a plot everyone already knows. Doesn’t exactly grab you by the lapels from the get go. I was impatient. Read more

418 Reviews | 46 Followers
76
Great acting, Disappointing

See it if Like a very traditional King Lear with great acting.

Don't see it if Have seen many Lears and was looking for something else.

302 Reviews | 101 Followers
87
Absorbing, Great acting, Great staging, Great writing, Intelligent

See it if You want to see the Royal Shakespeare Company doing what they do best...straight forward Shakespeare with clarity and focus

Don't see it if You can't sit through 3+hours of verse, regardless of how well it is done

304 Reviews | 42 Followers
83
Ambitious, Great acting, Epic, Slow, Masterful

See it if you want to see masterful performances by great actors. The costumes and staging are wonderful, too.

Don't see it if you don't like or understand Shakespeare. Lear is not easy, it's long, and can be a little ponderous. I must admit my eyes closed at times.

276 Reviews | 39 Followers
65
Great writing, Great acting, Thought-provoking, Overrated, Intense

See it if You want to see the daughters portrayed as aught but villains, Essiedu steal the show from an overthought Lear, or an awesome box throne.

Don't see it if you may just not like King Lear. Despite much ado, it's unclear what this signifies. Storm scene could use serious work. Read more

Critic Reviews (25)

The New York Times
April 12th, 2018

"It may sound like a backhanded compliment to praise this show as a good introductory 'King Lear,' one you could take restless 10th graders to, but it is not...Making Shakespeare flow in a stylistically coherent production is not easy...Every syllable here resonates with a crisp precision that feels earned...Yet there is something a little frustrating about a performance where every inflection, every gesture comes across as the calculated result of a lengthy thought process."
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Time Out New York
April 13th, 2018

"Sher is miscast in the part, and this central instability throws the play's whole system into disarray. To be sure, he is an extraordinary actor...But his oiled stylizations don't work for a character who falls apart...Doran doesn't help him: Bizarre staging choices...The sheer number of half-thought ideas hoisted and quickly abandoned in this production testifies to a lack of confidence...You can still hear some wonderful language...But you'll be doing a lot of the heavy digging yourself."
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New York Magazine / Vulture
April 15th, 2018

"This may not be the most explosive 'Lear' you've ever seen, but it might be the smartest...Doran's production is both meticulous and majestic, and Sher's declining monarch is a fiercely precise performance, if not always a heartrending one - I couldn't always feel their 'Lear,' but I could always see it...The play is rich with imagery of sight and sightlessness...Intellectually wide-ranging, necessarily imperfect, but one that undoubtedly helps us see Shakespeare's Everest better."
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Theatermania
April 12th, 2018

"Despite an excellent cast, it's really Sher's forceful presence and exquisite comedic timing that buoys the production when it seems in danger of foundering under Gregory Doran's inspired but incongruous direction...Had this simple but captivating aesthetic remained consistent throughout, the production would have been tremendously affecting. But Doran strays from this vision with the disappointingly static storm scene...Fortunately, Sher's scenes get the show back on track."
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Lighting & Sound America
April 13th, 2018

"Under Doran's direction, virtually every performance casts a light on this awful procession of human folly...There are occasional touches that grate...But there are many more moments that contribute to an overwhelmingly powerful whole...Most of all, there is Sher's Lear...He offers an especially tender reading of the final speech, completing the character's journey from the apex of power to a state of nothingness...At this production, pity and terror are guaranteed."
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New York Stage Review
April 13th, 2018

"Sometimes thrillingly inspired, sometimes workmanlike revival...Much of Sher's performance is marked by unadulterated shouting...There are eye- and ear-catching performances from Troughton as self-deluded Gloucester, Ndiweni as a lovely but determined Cordelia, Graham Turner's Fool, Antony Bryne's furious Kent, Clarence Smith's authoritative Albany, and Byron Mondahl's vituperative Oswald."
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New York Stage Review
April 12th, 2018

"Everything about this Royal Shakespeare Company production—from Niki Turner’s lavish costumes to the 12 local amateur actors in assorted nonspeaking roles to a bloody eye-gouging scene that would make Martin McDonagh proud—says epic...Sher’s performance, however, isn’t as massive as you might be expecting...You’ll likely never see a better bastard Edmund than Paapa Essiedu...If you’ve never seen 'King Lear,' seeing Antony Sher, directed by Gregory Doran, is a rare, rare treat."
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TheaterScene.net
April 20th, 2018

"The Royal Shakespeare Company's latest King Lear, as directed by Gregory Doran, is one that needs no explanation and no program notes. At one and the same time both medieval and contemporary, this production solves many of the questions that often go unanswered. Sir Antony Sher in a glorious cap to his career gives a memorably luminous and unambiguous performance in the title role which should stand as a bar by which others will be measured."
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