Lear’s Daughters

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01/08/14

C Nova Venue, Edinburgh

Lear’s Daughters (Footfall Theatre Company) offers an interesting premise. What would Shakespeare’s famous play look like presented from the point of view of his daughters, Regan, Goneril and Cordelia? Presented in the rather unprepossessing C Nova venue (complete with occasional distracting bleed-through from a raucous performance next door) the production delivered rather less than it promised. The performances were pretty good overall, with Goneril a stand-out, but the lack of a programme prevents me from identifying any of the four actors featured. Shakespeare’s dialogue (including lines by the play’s other characters) is assigned to the daughters, who constantly bicker about their father’s needs. Lear himself is represented by an empty wheelchair and the character of the Fool is now a nurse, who sings (seemingly unrelated) songs throughout the performance. This is either going to be A) a refreshing novelty or B) an irritation, and sadly I leaned towards the latter. When the Fool/Nurse continued to sing whilst being blinded, I started to feel disengaged from the proceedings. I think at the end of the day, if you’re going to mess with the bard of Stratford On Avon, you’d better have something pretty amazing up your sleeve and I’m not convinced that Lear’s Daughters actually did. But the performers acquitted themselves well under quite trying conditions, so I’ll be lenient.

3.2 stars

Philip Caveney

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