Reviews: What Do Critics Think of Kenneth Branagh-Led King Lear? | Playbill

The Verdict Reviews: What Do Critics Think of Kenneth Branagh-Led King Lear?

The production plays London's West End before transferring to Off-Broadway's The Shed.

Kenneth Branagh in King Lear Johan Persson

Stage and screen actor Kenneth Branagh's production of King Lear officially opened October 31, and the reviews are rolling in. Branagh both directs and stars in the titular role, first at Wyndham's Theatre in London, before transferring to Off-Broadway's The Shed.

Joining Branagh are Mara Allen as Curan (Macbeth), Deborah Alli as Goneril (Best of Enemies), Raymond Anum as Burgundy (The Merchant of Venice), Melanie-Joyce Bermudez as Regan in her professional debut, Doug Colling as Edgar (Dear Evan Hansen), Dylan Corbett-Bader as France (The Tattooist of Auschwitz Sky), Eleanor de Rohan as Kent (Anatomy of A Scandal), Chloe Fenwick-Brown as Oswald in her professional debut, Joseph Kloska as Gloucester (The Winter’s Tale), Corey Mylchreest as Edmund (Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story), Hughie O’Donnell as Cornwall (Into The Woods), Caleb Obediah as Cornwall (Bridgerton), Jessica Revell as Cordelia / The Fool (Tracy Beaker Returns).

Previews began at Wyndham's Theatre October 21. The London run will conclude December 9, after which the production will transfer to The Shed's Griffin Theater in autumn of 2024.

Read the reviews below.

The Arts Desk (Mert Dilek)

The Daily Mail (Patrick Marmion) *

The Guardian (Arifa Akbar)

The Independent (Alice Saville)

The New Statesman (Rachel Cooke)

The New York Times (Matt Wolf)

The Telegraph (Claire Allfree)

The Times (Clive Davis)

Time Out (Andrzej Lukowski)

The Stage (Sam Marlowe)

WhatsOnStage (Sarah Crompton)

*This review requires creating a free account or a paid subscription.

Playbill will continue to update this list as reviews come in.

The creative team also includes set and costume designer Jon Bausor, projection designer Nina Dunn, lighting designer Paul Keogan, sound designers and composers Ben and Max Ringham, choreographer Aletta Collins, and fight director Bret Yount. Casting directors are Lucy Bevan and Emily Brockmann

Branagh has formed a long career starring in Shakespeare's works since appearing in Royal Shakespeare Company's Henry V in 1984. On stage and screen, he has starred in over 15 productions of Shakespearean plays. Among the highlights are his film adaptation of Hamlet, and his immersive staging of Macbeth which played Off-Broadway's Park Avenue Armory.

Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company presents the production, 10 years after forming in 2013, in association with the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, as well as with international production company Fiery Angel and The Shed. KBTC also includes Judi Dench, Zoë Wanamaker, Derek Jacobi, Lily James, Richard Madden, and Rob Brydon.


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