The Curators’ Theatre Company are thrilled to announce the first offering in their 2022 season – a radical reimagining of William Shakespeare’s greatest play for our times: King Lear Monster Show!
Distilled to its essence and inventively reworked by Michael Beh, King Lear Monster Show! is a dynamic and edgy adaptation of this enduring masterpiece. This haunting tale is a gripping descent from hilarity to hell, an evocation of love and law, power and justice, sanity and survival.
Set in a Fellini-inspired dreamscape of apocalyptic wastelands, this re-visioning is the politically-resonant story of an aging and once powerful king who decides to divide his kingdom between his three daughters. Demanding to be reassured of their love, he invites each to speak. His ambitious and unscrupulous older daughters give false praise and empty declarations of love, whilst his youngest speaks simply and sincerely. Thrown into a rage at her response, Lear sets in train a series of catastrophic consequences, causing his former kingdom to spiral into chaos, driving him to madness and destroying many lives.
The world of the play is in a dystopian future we can envisage all too readily. The experiment that was western democracy has collapsed; there has been a dissolution of arbitrary lines that marked states and countries; national allegiances have given way. Between the end of everything and the start of something new, Lear lives. In this twilight world, clothing is all recycled, epoch pop. Masks are de rigueur. The colliding strains of bastardised Beethoven fused with industrial rock linger – because like all divas – Lear loves to dance.
A profound exploration of the human condition, King Lear Monster Show! explores loyalty, betrayal, madness and power. Lear’s arrogance and excessive pride, Cordelia’s selfless devotion, Goneril’s cruelty and Edmund’s treachery are exquisitely captured and the talents of the whole cast bring a vividness and immediacy to this timeless tragedy. The ensemble comprises the immensely talented Warwick Comber as Lear, Eleonora Ginardi as The “Synth Queen” Fool, Amanda McErlean as Goneril and Sherri Smith as Regan, Lauren Roche as Cordelia, Julia Johnson as “Auntie Jenny” Gloucester, Cameron Hurry as Edgar and Willem Whitfield as his bastard brother, Edmund.
These highly-experienced artists have relished the opportunity to give life to Shakespeare’s compelling morality tale, putting a new spin on characterisation and realisation. The original script is blended with grabs from other great poets (Dante, Keats, Dickinson and Yeats), the set and costumes dramatically reflect the cultural disarray from which they spring, and the plot has been reworked in surprising ways. This is Lear reinvigorated!
Michael Beh leads a strong creative team. Set design is by Beth Scott and sound design by Brian Cavanagh. Beh has not only adapted Shakespeare’s original King Lear and directed this extraordinary piece, but has also put his considerable skills in costume design to good use here. Working with vision creative Nathaniel Knight and Artist in Residence, Ronnie Wakefield, the visual world of KLMS! is filled with three-metre high portraits of the play’s characters. This unique take on the theatrical world of King Lear is intrinsic to the set. Wakefield’s powerful works will also be available for purchase at the completion of the run.
The Curators have made clever use of their performance venue, the intimate, beautifully-timbered, heritage-listed, building, Christ Church, in Milton. This is an atmospheric, elegant gem of a performance space which The Curators utilize resourcefully. Centrally-situated, it offers easy free parking in the surrounding streets. In this exciting production The Curators’ Theatre Company have remained true to their stated aims to use “highly theatrical scenography to create visually dynamic live performance” and to be “evocative, unorthodox, innovative and outstanding”.
To find out more about King Lear or to book tickets visit The Curators website.
Media Release supplied.