Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Theatre: The Shadow King

William Shakespeare's King Lear 
adapted by Michael Kantor and Tom E Lewis
Malthouse Theatre
Directed by Michael Kantor
Designed by Paul Jackson, Michael Kantor and David Miller
Musical direction John Rodgers
Performed by Jada Alberts, Jimi Bani, Frances Djulibing, Rarriwuy Hick, Damion Hunter, Kamahi Djordon King, Tom E. Lewis and Natasha Wanganeen, with musicians Selwyn Burns, Djakapurra Munyarryun and Bart Willoughby
Heath Ledger Theatre until 1 March

Let’s be clear: despite its title, its language and its setting, The Shadow King is King Lear, Shakespeare’s, and all theatre’s, supreme drama.
In a remarkable achievement, Michael Kantor and Tom E. Lewis (who also plays the king) have stripped half its length, all but eight of its 21 characters (no sadistic Cornwall, no grasping Albany, no loyal Kent), changed the gender of one of them (Gloucester), presented a radically altered text in five indigenous languages as well as English, and delivered an always satisfying and sometimes transcendent version of the play.
As Djakapurra Munyarryun’s phenomenal, keening voice sings all the sorrow of tens of thousands of years, signed, date stamped and filed; as Frances Djulibing falls to the ground from the cliff her son imagines for her; as Tom E. Lewis dances, distracted, in the dust, the unsurpassable art that lies at the heart of Shakespeare’s greatest play, and this memorable, iconic, imagining of it, rises up from the red dirt and takes us in.

Link here to the complete review in The West Australian

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