7 – 30 Aug 1000 (1055) @ C (+1) Chambers Street
By Danielle Farrow
Full of topical and even apt references to popular television programmes and figures, C Theatre’s Shakespeare for Breakfast gives King Lear a humorous celebrity make-over. Racing through the major plot points with convincingly amended lyrics from Bonnie Tyler and musical songs, a clap of rap and dose of Mumford & Sons, the musical elements drive the show along and often provide the highlights. Then, too, there is the breakfast – coffee and croissant to help get you going so early in the Fringe day.
Some of the language and entendres are surprising in a family show, though realistically there’s unlikely to be much kids have not heard before. Shakespeare’s dialogue appears sporadically and is occasionally lost in delivery, but mostly it is cleverly woven in and referenced. Shakespeare’s plot is definitely given a major make-over, but enjoyably, and may still direct those for whom Lear is new to investigating the original (though there will be a few shocks there if anyone is expecting a comedy).
The young actors do need to make sure they support their voices fully – particularly for speech rather than song, surprisingly – but their energy and gift of their performances to the audience works well. The playing of multiple roles is handled with aplomb, particularly by the actor playing Gloucester, and Lear’s physicality is an absolute joy.
Shakespeare for Breakfast has become a Fringe institution and, despite a distinct lack of audience participation compared to previous years, this celebrity Lear is another entertaining addition to the Bard at Breakfast canon.