Sunday, March 06, 2011

"Lear's Daughters" - March 2011

The timing of XLC Theatre's "Lear's Daughters" fitted in perfectly with our plans to see the Donmar Warehouse's touring production of Shakespeare's play the following week, and having enjoyed several of their shows previously we made our first trip of the year to the Citz Circle Studio. And this prequel certainly provided an interesting take on the characters.

Written by Elaine Feinstein and The Women's Theatre Group, I'm finding it difficult not to feel that the choices made for the characters are more in the interests of advancing a political agenda than in creating a work of theatre of value in itself. But what Feinstein has delivered is a very lyrical script which the cast perform well. There were a couple of moments early on when some of the semi-monologues came over as more recited than spoken with real meaning, but once we get into the main part of the play all five cast members give impressive performances.

Caitlin Cummins Duffy, Skye Cooper-Barr and Rehanna MacDonald as Goneril, Regan and Cordelia handle the transition from young children to womanhoood effectively. As The Fool, Vasso Gergiadou holds the show together and appears very comfortable getting up close with the audience. Miriam Sarah Doren makes her character(s) sympathetic but the fact that we're unsure if her billing as Nurse/Nanny was a single character is indicative of a wider lack of clarity in the script and David Lee-Michael's direction which left us with a number of plot points on which Waldorf and I disagreed on our understanding of. And we're also now disagreeing as to how much of this was intentional ambiguity.

Sadly we couldn't see a credit in the programme for the costumes - and it's a pity as they were fabulous. "Lear's Daughters" was an entertaining night, and it will be interesting to see just how much it colours our view of "King Lear" when we see it later this week.

Lear's Daughters from XLC Theatre in association with Langside College has completed its run at the Citizens.