Tuesday, 14 May 2013

King Lear

King Lear at Shakespeare's Globe. This is a production on tour, so obviously I'm urging you to find where it is touring, then go and watch it. You get raw gratuitous violence, bitter family feuding, and a prolonged dose of royal stupidity.

Yes, I know. All of the above are available in your locality; you merely substitute Lear and the heath for the local bus shelter, the kiddy playground park, and your usual harvest of summer newspaper headlines, but this comes with fancy diddly-do language, dammit.

The production is of course, excellent, so you won't be disappointed. Joseph Marcell as Lear is wonderfully, believably, dotty. Bewildered by events he brings about for himself; unconscious of consequence; pitiable in his lost, and profound, confusion.

From my mama's point of view, it is endlessly rich in moral examples, thus perfect for family viewing. For example, to the Gritties Junior I can reinforce that point about age appropriateness. As in, Tiger, if you are going off the rails, do it when you are supposed to. Between ages 13-15. Then we have time to address it.

Of course I worry about this.

Being home educated, the little grits will misfoot themselves in the manner of their off-railing, and they will get it wrong, mess up their social interaction, and end up drinking cider down the back lane aged 36.

This will never do. Thus I am instructing them in age appropriateness. If you miss your off-railing violent and promiscuous anomie in the teenage years, then yes, you can have another crack in your middle years (age appropriate actions: violence against administration officers, inexplicable weekend disappearances) but if you miss it this time round, you must wait a long stretch, probably until you are aged after 70. Then it must take the form of push-up bras, micro skirts, and more poudre rouge than Dior has licence to manufacture (men, you may do this too).

Other moral examples abound. What happens when you piss off your sister; what happens when you lose the map that shows you the way ahead; what happens if you don't show due regard for your responsibilities.

Indeed, there is something for all the family to enjoy in King Lear. Especially for the over-50s mama, because Mad Tom gets his kit off, and reveals a rather fine semi-naked young man with a pleasing thigh caked in mud. I didn't notice that, obviously. Shark simply asked why I had that funny look on my face. She is not likely to recognise the sad drooling regret of the semi-ancient woman exiled in your own land, so I let it pass.

So yes, go see. Take the family. There wasn't as much comedy in it as I now hope for, especially after last year's Red Rose Chain brought in Pimp My Mobility Scooter and a glove puppet, but it was a great addition to a Shakespeare-dedicated summer. And for a better review of it, go over here.

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