Theatre Review: King Lear’s Fool’s Tale

Friday 24th March finds me once more on the service 3 bus to see this excellent one-person, King Lear focused, show at The Old Electric Theatre. Although I knew elements of this play – two nasty daughters, one nice, he goes mad, there’s a storm – I’ve never seen or read it, so a quick search for a synopsis was necessary. The daughters’ names often come up in the crossword. Gosh, a lot happens and a lot of it brutal.

A small but select gathering was ushered up the stairs to a conveniently sized bar/cafe area above the main auditorium. Quite cozy. Without further ado, John D. Slater, as the King’s faiithful companion the Fool, entered the stage.

Slater was dressed as a restrained fool, he had bells on his ankles but not his hat, which was a straw thing with a turned back brim. His skull puppet named Eddie perhaps foreshadowed what was to come (and is also the band Iron Maiden’s mascot). Some gentle songs are included, received with applause. The King is supposedly off-stage making daisy chains.

There follows an amiable and somewhat bemused run through the play’s plot – basically a retirement plan gone disastrously wrong and the consequences of a huge and cynical ego meeting a declining mind and body, which slips into mental illness, compounded by a calamitous misunderstanding with a loved one, leading to war and death. Actually, the fool doesn’t get that far here [spoiler alert], probably for the best when one knows what happens to him later. There are some excellent insights into the plot and the characters here.

The audience was rapt, which I think showed Slater’s subtle skill as an actor. In less capable hands, this show could have come across as meandering, leading to the question ‘can’t we just have the play?’. Other plays, including Hamlet, get a reference, as well as Shakespeare himself, “he’ll never amount to much”. The show was scheduled for an hour and it didn’t seem like that, the time shooting by. With a reference to meeting Cordelia and her army at Dover, the Fool leaves the stage. The character apparently blissfully unaware that it’s then things really kick off.

John D. Slater reappeared for a short Q&A. Some of the show’s inspiration comes from him appearing in Lawrence Olivier’s filmed version of the play as one of the hundred knights. Apparently this is on YouTube if you want to check it out.

Another evening well spent at this fine local venue, which we’re so lucky to have. Checking the app, the service 6 bus was conveniently due and got me home with no difficulty. Jam on toast for a late supper.


Reclaim Blackpool - Mapping Sexual Harrasment
  • Avatar photo

    I have worked in the housing and transport professions for several local authorities, specialising in policy, strategy preparation and bid writing. Having always had an interest in film, the visual arts in general, theatre, music and lterature, I thought it would be good to combine the writing experience with these interests to contribute to altBlackpool. In addition to writing, my hobbies include watercolour and pastel painting, photography, woodwork, cycling and vegetable gardening.

  • Show Comments (0)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

comment *

  • name *

  • email *

  • website *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

You May Also Like

Dance Partners at The Grand

The Grand Theatre was the venue for this outstanding performance of contemporary dance on ...

Theatre Preview: Amy Johnson: Last Flight Out

Amy Johnson: Last Flight Out, a one-woman show celebrating the life of the pilot ...

Theatre Review: Miss Nobodies

Ruth Cockburn performs a fragmented ode to the lives of Lancashire’s working-class women In ...