King Lear at the Theatre at St. Clemens

The cast of King Lear at the Theatre at St. Clements, New York NY. Photo courtesy of Amy Quint and SkollarPR
The cast of King Lear at the Theatre at St. Clements, New York NY. Photo courtesy of Amy Quint and SkollarPR

NEW YORK – King Lear at the Theatre at St. Clements.

The Frog and Peach Theatre Co. paid homage to the greatest playwright of all time in its 2024 production of William Shakespeare’s King Lear, now playing at the Theatre at St. Clements.

Human frailties like narcissism, madness, betrayal, and death transcend centuries since this play was first written, and those tragic flaws live on today. King Lear throws multiple symbols for life’s struggle into the fray. The actors keep close to the original script, albeit in modern-day clothing.

If “Shakespeare is for everybody,” this presentation strongly attracts first-time attendees and aficionados of all ages.

The audience first observes the demented, over-the-top narcissist King Lear (Greg Mullavey), pompous in his wish to dismantle and disappear from his royal duties. He wishes to give the largest portion of his wealth to his child, who loves him the most. This can only lead to a bad outcome, as his daughter Goneril (Amy Frances Quint) and Regan (Camelia Iturregui Fuertes) forswear their allegiance and love. Mullavey skillfully transforms Lear’s character from irrational to demented as darkness overcomes him throughout the show. Quint and Fuertes were forcibly evil in their performances.

King Lear, Act I, Scene I - painting by Edwin Austin Abbey (MET, 13.140)

King Lear, Act I, Scene I – painting by Edwin Austin Abbey (MET, 13.140)

Lear spurns the purest of love expressed by his daughter Cordelia (Calley Luman) and disinherits her. Despite this foolishness, the King of France (Clayton Turner), who admires Cordelia’s honesty and virtues, marries her. Luman portrays the sweetness of Cordelia to perfection, a virtue which unfortunately leads to her untimely death.

King Lear presents the Earl of Gloucester (David Elyha), who recognizes Lear’s diminished mental capacity but cannot intervene to transfer power. His ego and ambition daunt him. Elyha is forceful yet eloquent in his portrayal of Gloucester, expressing rationality but ultimately double-crossed, physically blinded, and killed at the end of the drama.

Betrayal rears its ugly head between Gloucester’s first-born son Edgar (DazMann Still) and illegitimate son Edmund (Jonathan Reed Wexler). Still was dynamic throughout the evening and compelling. Wexler, sly as he plotted to usurp his half-brother, was superb. The evil Regan and her husband, The Duke of Cornwall (Anuj Parikh), pluck Gloucester’s eyes out, pinning the blame on Edmund. This becomes the foundation for more bad faith and death in the play. Shakespeare reminds us that relationships can be complicated.

Thousands of performances have showcased King Lear, filled with scores of literary elements, metaphors, imagery, and irony, to name a few. Some of the greatest literary critics have scrutinized the play. There have been many interpretations and analyses, even by Sigmond Freud, because of so many emotional twists and turns. The Frog and Peach Theatre Co. delivered the thrill of Shakespeare to the modern stage in a performance that is truly for everybody.

Frog and Peach Theatre Co. presents King Lear at the Theatre at St. Clements. Starring Amy Frances Quint, Gina Bonati, Anuj Parikh, Camelia Iturregui Fuentes, DazMann Still, Emmeline Chuy, Eric Ryan Swanson, Erica Cafarelli, Calley Luman, Clayton Turner, Riley Scott, David Elyha, Steven Ungar, Jaixa Irizarry, John L. Payne, James Nash, Laurence Cantor, Lenny Ciotti, Coleman Shu-Tung, Eric Doss, Greg Mullavey and Jonathan Reed Wexler. Directed by Lynnea Benson, costume and set design by Asa Benally, and stage production by Lenyn Hernandez Marcia. Press by Elizabeth Skollar.

Theatre at St. Clements, 423 W. 46th Street, NYC 10036.

Readers may also enjoy our reviews of The Moment You Need,  Russian Troll FarmAberdeen at the SOHO PlayhouseThe Animal Kingdom,  Romeo and JulietDostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment,  Exorcista,  Women on Fire: Fair is Foul, and The Days of Wine and Roses.

King Lear at the Theatre at St. Clemens


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