King Lear enjoys a sacramental status in theatre. Actors — and directors — think of Shakespeare’s tragedy as the summit of their careers.
They come over all serious when speaking of it, which is usually time to hit the snooze button. But the best thing about the Globe’s new production is that it’s refreshingly un-starry.
In the title role, Kevin McNally is every inch the team player in a warmly egalitarian production directed by theatre’s high priestess of company acting, Nancy Meckler.
She focuses the play on its theme of vagrancy, with the cast clambering on stage at the start as if they were New Age travellers setting up a squat. It’s an idea that chimes nicely with the story of a king forsaking his palace and finding out how the other half lives.