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Fringe review: Lear by Nicola Tuxworth

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Lear by John Scott Dance Company

"John Scott Dance Company has brought new life to the classic Shakespeare play."

Lear is an inventive version of Shakespeare’s King Lear as it entwines dance with the powerful words and quotations of Shakespeare.

But the use of Shakespeare’s words do not stop vocally as the set itself it decorated with paper quotations such as That Way Madness Lies and The Tempest In My Mind along with Rage, Blow! and Spit Fire, Spout Rain to name just a few.

The characters and colour scheme are very interesting: the set was a white floor with a black backdrop with the quotes from King Lear written on A4 sheets of paper all dotted about with a long map of King Lear’s Kingdom placed at the centre of the backdrop. This is a very eye-catching way to draw you into the world of King Lear.

The cast of four is a really delightful surprise as Lear is played by a woman and the three daughters are played by three males (who also double-up as Fool or in this case Fools) but each of the four characters we see are easy to indentify by the use of colours in their outfits. Lear is dressed in grey, white and black with a white paper/card crown. Goneril, the first daughter wears red, Regan the second daughter wears orange and the third of Lear’s daughters, Cordelia, wears blue.

When these three men portrait the Fool, they play him as one character, even though the three of them may be talking the same lines at the same time, or individually after each other. Their portrayal lifts the character of the Fool from spoken-word to a living physical character.

A big shout-out must go to this small, extraordinary cast. Val Setterfield who has given a wonderful performance as Lear is still performing at the age of 82 and I personally hope she continues to keep on performing. What an inspirational woman she is!

And what a delight to see Ryan O’Neil, Mufutau Yusuf and Kevin Coquelard bring such fun and passion to their roles as Lear’s daughters and a winning witty charm to the Fool.

I truly believe John Scott Dance Company has brought new life to the classic Shakespeare play, King Lear.


Until 27 August at 4.15pm at Dance Base (venue 22). 


Written by Nicola Tuxworth

Nicola has been actively involved with Lung Ha's Theatre Company since 2008. Being part of Lung Ha's has given her some of the most wonderful opportunities such as going on tour around Scotland and getting the chance to perform internationally, including Paris in 2009, Stockholm in 2011 and Helsinki in 2015. Nicola has also performed twice at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe - in 2011 and in 2014.