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

King Lear (BAM) NYC Reviews and Tickets

(57 Ratings)
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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Show-Score Member Reviews (57)

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86 Reviews | 24 Followers
Great actors, inventive, intense, long, daring

See it if Well, it closes on Sunday so this is more "you should have seen it" than "go see it it." But Jackson is a revelation.

Don't see it if You don't like long plays, hate King Lear or object to daring choices (there is a string quartet). Read more

197 Reviews | 74 Followers
Great acting, Masterful, Riveting, Ambitious, Delightful

See it if you like Lear, BAM, great Shakespeare, spot-on acting across the board, a perfect balance of good and evil (rare achievements in Lear!)

Don't see it if In an otherwise perfect production, Sher pontificated to the audience too much; and the thunderstorm scene was very odd - way up on a box Read more

89 Reviews | 10 Followers
Entertaining, Great interpretation, Thought-provoking

See it if You are looking for an entertaining interpretation where all the characters are SUPER extra and Goneril is surprisingly sympathetic

Don't see it if You don't like Shakespeare or can't handle the vertigo-inducing balcony seats of the Harvey Theater

202 Reviews | 138 Followers
Great writing, Great acting, Profound, Masterful

See it if you want to see a straightforward production of King Lear, with outstanding performances by Essiedu, Troughton, and Byrne.

Don't see it if you prefer a more regal Lear. Sher is a fine actor, but I never had the sense of him as a king, which made his downfall less compelling. Read more

61 Reviews | 18 Followers
Epic, Great writing, Great acting, Intelligent, Resonant

See it if You're a fan of Shakespeare or an experienced theatregoer who wants to see one of the most difficult plays to pull off done really well.

Don't see it if You're a newcomer to Shakespeare or theatre in general. You get impatient with long plays. Read more

494 Reviews | 123 Followers
Great acting, Absorbing, Masterful

See it if you've never seen King Lear before, enjoy intelligent, clear Shakespearean storytelling and excellent performances all around.

Don't see it if you prefer flashier or modern productions, expect a more interpretative take on a classic, or have little patience to sit through 3.5 hours.

137 Reviews | 10 Followers
Great acting, Epic, Must see, Chilling, Powerful

See it if you have never seen a production of "King Lear" .... or even if you have seen a dozen productions.

Don't see it if you don't like Shakespeare .... Read more

242 Reviews | 44 Followers
Great acting, Great staging, Great writing, Riveting, Intense

See it if you want to see an outstanding Lear, supported by skilled actors who know how to "speak the speech", not derailed by a directorial "concept"

Don't see it if you don't like Shakespeare or plays that last over three hours.

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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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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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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