Photo from Ghosts

Lear's world eclipsed by evil
Reviewed by Matt Byrne

KING Lear is one of Shakespeare's greatest tragedies.
The story of the flawed king who abdicates his power, his lands and ultimately his mind still resonates with great feelings of loss.

Staging it outside in the distinguished grounds of Carrick Hill brings a certain appeal and Lightning Strike's latest outdoor offering is an evening with some genuine highlights and environmental problems.

Director Paul Peers has assembled a youthful ensemble who have the energy - if not the experience - to present this bloody tale of arrogance, naked ambition, betrayal, sibling rivalry and deadly dementia.

Warwick Cooper delivers a powerful performance as Lear, showing the complete downfall of a once-great leader, taking us into the darkest corners of his shattered psyche.

Renato Musolino is a standout as the bastard son Edmund, providing the perfect cocktail of menace and machismo.

Matt Russell is excellent as his unsuspecting brother Edgar who winds up as poor Tom, Alan Holy is a fabulous fool, and Wayne Anthony gives the Earl of Gloucester the right mix of grace and well-meaning majesty.

Catherine Campbell and Raechel Kirkham are a nasty double trouble act as Lear's death-dealing daughters Goneril and Reagan, and Belinda Hellyer makes a passionate and worthy Cordelia.

Overall the outdoor staging works, but there are problems with projection from some cast members in the second half near the lake and balance difficulties with Jeremy Conlon's compelling soundscape.

When the summer breezes blow, voices need to compensate, but Tom Sutton's lighting for the storm is clever and there are some stark silhouettes as the story reaches its unforgiving climax.

Take a chair, refreshments, make friends with the magpies, and appreciate the perfect backdrop of the sun setting and the lights of Adelaide coming to life, as Lear's world is eclipsed by evil.