Prequel to Shakespeare's tragedy takes a unique look at the psyches of King Lear's children
This article is from 2015.
If ever there was a play about daddy issues, it's this one. Lear's Daughters is an exploratory prequel, which imagines the events which took place before the cantankerous Shakespearean monarch decided to divide his kingdom between his two nasty daughters and ignore the nice one.
Much like in Shakespeare's King Lear, the character of The Fool (Sophie Stemmons) is used to help shape the storyline, as she narrates the girls' lives from childhood through to marriage. Stemmons is excellent in her role, maintaining a strong presence, while still managing to remain as unreliable a narrator as any fool should be.
Though the story is solid, the staging needs work. Much of the time, one character or another is wrapped in garish pink tulle, which is used to represent everything from a bed to a wedding veil. The practicalities of unravelling the cloth and reorganising its constant draping looks unpolished and clumsy. It's aesthetically unpleasant, and takes away from the fine performances.
This is a play which relies heavily on strong characters, and the cast deliver. Occasionally the writing borders on overly poetic, but ultimately succeeds in offering a fresh, often funny perspective on a classic play.
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