King Lear – Review

Mill Productions

Mill Theatre Dundrum



King Lear is my favourite Shakespeare play and consequently I automatically set high standards for any production of it, but Mill Productions’ take on King Lear did not disappoint.

From the opening the lighting stood out, with Kris Mooney’s design capturing the atmosphere and heightening the emotion in every scene perfectly. This was particularly so in the final tableaux with Lear, Cordelia and Edgar which was visually stunning.  Another interesting aspect of the lighting was the engagement with shadows, particularly by the Fool, which added another level of effective visual expression to the production.

Lenny Hayden as Lear and Shane O’Regan as the Fool both delivered impressive performances. Both handled the language with dexterity and worked excellently together as a pair. O’Regan captured the balance between eccentricity and wisdom in the Fool effectively. The rest of the cast all delivered competent and engaging performances, though Paul Elliot as Edmund did at points over-act, with too much shouting and high tension performance at times where it was not necessary.

The opening scene, with the Fool scampering in and starting a dynamic movement scene was an intriguing and captivating one. However, it was not followed through in the piece, which I would like to have seen. Had there been a stronger thread of that movement through the piece, the opening would have gelled better with the play as a whole. As it was they seemed two disjointed pieces, both effective and engaging, but neither entirely connected to the other.

This production was an entertaining and evocative rendition of Shakespeare’s tragic tale. In its engagement with the characters and its attention to the smaller details, Mill Productions truly brought Lear to life.

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