Tuesday, January 20, 2015

reviews KING LEAR Southwest Shakespeare Company

Allison Sell and John Hutton
(photo: Mark Gluckman)
for more information on this production, that runs through January 31st , click here.

"William Shakespeare's King Lear may be 400 years old but the themes of bitter family betrayals, sibling power struggles, lost authority, and how a person's mind can be destroyed are still relevant today.  As Lear, John Hutton is excellent. His frustration when he discovers the true nature of his daughters and his descent into dementia are superbly played. In both his expressions and his speech we fully grasp the internal struggle, the questions of doubt and the sheer disappointment Lear endures. It is an exceptional performance.  Allison Sell plays both Cordelia and Lear's Fool, and brings an honesty and intimacy to both parts.  Director Jared Sakren provides a sharp focus to the scenes, creating an intense connection with the audience.  With a stellar performance by John Hutton and clear direction, Southwest Shakespeare's production of one of the Bard's most popular tragedies brings the madness and despair of the play to vibrant life." -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

"Southwest Shakespeare's production, helmed by artistic director Jared Sakren, is a good one. John Hutton gives a finely etched portrayal of the title character as he descends into dotage and finally madness, but preserves glimpses of the charismatic leader of yore.  In a strong ensemble, Ross Hellwig also stands out for his rakish take on the villainous Edmund. And if Jordan Letson (Goneril) and Emily Mohney (Regan) play their bad-girl roles to the lascivious hilt, well, that's entertainment." -Kerry Lengel, Arizona Republic (click here to read the complete review)

"Sometimes, you need to enter unfamiliar surroundings to better comprehend the what and why of your quotidian reality. The ancient England of King Lear is as good a place as any to reflect on the evil that men ~ and, indeed, women ~ do in their lust for power and the horrific consequences of their hybris and deceits. Jared Sakren's depth of intellect informs this powerful interpretation of King Lear. Combining Kimb Williamson's set, the costumes of Adriana Diaz, and Daniel Davisson's lighting, he has created the perfect stark mood for the storming antics of the play's protagonists. Above all, he has assembled and directed a powerhouse cast that, in turn, infuses their characters with depth and wit.  But it is John Hutton whose masterful and controlled portrayal of the King commands the stage. His presence and countenance, whether roaring at injustice or feigning madness or drowning in regret, make for a memorable Lear." -Herbert Paine, Broadway World (click here to read the complete review)

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