Illegitimate ‘King Lear’ still worth seeing

The first act of "King Lear" seems so wrong-headed that it may be a major surprise how much you like it anyway.

Lear (Dan Kremer) wants to know which of his daughters deserves his riches. Two, Goneril (played by Carole Healey) and Regan (Carey Cannon), speak heaps of love to convince Daddy to turn over his dough. Cordelia (Shelly Gaza) refuses to take part. Lear gets so mad he gives her nothing. It winds up, many killings later, that it was Cordelia who really loved Dad best.

While J.R. Sullivan and his talented cast provide countless moments of genuine, moving interaction, the director fails to set up the basic situation. Lear is as close to a figure of divine omnipotence as his subjects think man can get. When he bellows to the heavens, we should feel as if a great force of nature is challenging the celestial order of things.

But Kremer in the title role is too steady for all that. He’s a likable performer who just doesn’t carry a lot of weight.

In the hands of actor Kieran Connolly, the Earl of Gloucester, who undergoes a similar moral transformation, has the same problems. The two men are such ordinary codgers that you don’t understand what all the yelling is about.

In the second act, though, it’s moving to watch how these two curmudgeons share their newly found states of humility. The evening’s one breathtaking moment is in the simple act of Cordelia watching, with love, her exhausted father sleeping. Sullivan’s production touches effectively on the humility aging forces on all of us. But it ignores, peculiarly, the issues of hubris and divine right that are at the center of this conflict.

Interesting actors abound, particularly Shawn Fagan as Edgar, a faithful son who, to protect his father, Gloucester, impersonates a nimble beggar; Timothy Castro, who brings a dominant air to his babblings as a funny and wise young Fool; and James Newcomb, as the Earl of Kent, who meshes well both the dramatic and comedic elements of a role that could be little more than window-dressing sidekick.

Sullivan consistently offers stunning (and often subtle) visual and aural effects. You never tire of looking at the stage. But the production inspires a contradictory response. No, this is not a legitimate "King Lear." And yes, it’s definitely worth seeing for what it’s chosen to be instead.

ad-high_impact_4
Entertainment
Downtown Summerlin hosts its annual Festival of Arts
People crowd to Downtown Summerlin for the 23rd annual Summerlin Festival of Arts in Las Vegas, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio, MGM Resorts International’s luxury hotel turns 20
The more than 3,000-room Bellagio hotel is situated on the site of the former Dunes Hotel. The Dunes was imploded in 1993, and construction of the Bellagio started in 1996. It cost $1.6 billion to build, making it the most expensive hotel in the world at the time. The Bellagio was former Wynn Resorts Ltd. Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn’s second major casino on the Strip after The Mirage. MGM Resorts International acquired the property from Steve Wynn in 2000. (Tara Mack/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Recycled Art and Cute Dogs at Summerlin Festival Of Arts
Recycled Art, Cute Dogs Abound At Summerlin Festival Of Arts (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio Patisserie Creates Life-size Sculpture Of 20th Anniversary Of Cirque Du Soleil Show
Bellagio Patisserie Creates Life-size Sculpture Of 20th Anniversary Of Cirque Du Soleil Show (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
10 Most Iconic Moments At The Bellagio Fountains
10 Most Iconic Moments At The Bellagio Fountains (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jason Aldean talks about the possibility of a Las Vegas residency
Country superstar Jason Aldean discusses his feelings about playing in Las Vegas and says he'd be interested in a Las Vegas residency when the time is right at the iHeart Radio Music Festival in Las Vegas on September 21, 2018.(John Katsilometes/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Block 16 Urban Food Hall Serves Favorite Foods From Across The US
Block 16 Urban Food Hall Serves Favorite Foods From Across The US (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Benny the Skating Dog could be the next Golden Knights on-ice entertainment
Benny the Skating Dog could be the next Golden Knights on-ice entertainment (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Who To Watch At Life Is Beautiful
Life Is Beautiful Setup
Workers preparing Fremont street for this weekend's Life is Beautiful festival, on Wednesday, September 19, 2018. Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal
The 46th annual Greek Food Festival will feed 25,000 people in Las Vegas
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip
Madame Tussauds Has The Newest VR Experience On The Strip. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Zia Records Move
Zias Records is moving from its Sahara Avenue and Arville Street location to a bigger store. (Mat Luscheck/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies
Students At The International Contortion Convention In Las Vegas Learn How To Bend And Twist Their Bodies. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Video from Fertitta wedding Sep. 1
video from @wedstagrams of Fertitta wedding at Red Rock Resort
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas
You Can Get Vegan Unicorn Toast In Downtown Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Five must-see bands at Psycho Las Vegas 2018
Five must-see bands at Psycho Las Vegas 2018
Zuma's Ice Cube Carving Is Satisfying To Watch
Zuma's Ice Cube Carving Is Satisfying To Watch (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Therapy In Downtown Las Vegas Serves Cast Iron S'mores
Therapy In Downtown Las Vegas Serves Cast Iron S'mores. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like