King Lear by William Shakespeare
Directed by Michael Buffong
Lighting design by Jo Town
Manchester Royal Exchange
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Photograph: John Goodfellow

The Telegraph ★★★★

“...Don Warrington ascends the cliff face with magnificent authority. He rages around his daughters like a hulking thunder cloud in human form, not just the incarnation of absolute rule but of something more ancient and of the earth...Buffong’s production, set in a pre-modern England and featuring a cast that’s a good two-thirds black, has a sweeping sense of landscape and history, and uses a ritualistic language of torchlight, pagan drum-beats and a circle drawn in the sand to powerfully convey the narrative of an old mythic order inexorably breaking down.”

The Guardian ★★★★

“As close to definitive as can be.

Don Warrington cuts a powerful and tyrannic Lear, amid a superb cast and suggestions of a forgotten history of black Britain...Designer Signe Beckmann presents a barren disc of compacted brown earth, echoing the observation of Miltos Yerolemou’s irrepressible rubber ball of a Fool that his master has become “an O without a figure”.”

The Stage ★★★★

“Don Warrington’s towering performance is one of many virtues in this outstanding production...Director Michael Buffong, his designer Signe Beckmann and lighting designer Johanna Town instead conjure a great deal of atmosphere on a simple tilted wooden gravel disc, lit by flaming torches, lamps and haze, while Tayo Akinbode's pulsing soundtrack keeps up an ominous commentary of its own.”

The Times ★★★★

“...a significant production.”

Manchester Evening Post ★★★★

“William Shakespeare's story of a kingdom carved up with disastrous political and personal consequences has rarely felt more relevant .

It's a lavish spectacle, a minimal earthy set brought to life through extraordinary period costume and occasional downpours of rain.”

Photographs: Jonathan Keenan