**** "King Lear" reset in the world of TV network news
American company The Riot Group return to the magnificent form they showed with Wreck The Airline Barrier in 1999.
The Riot Group's last Edinburgh show, The Zero Yard, was a big disappointment: loud, long, grinding and frankly dull. This is a terrific return to form from the energetic young company. I say "energetic" because, even though they're on a desktop-sized stage in a cramped and airless studio, even though for most of the 75-minute piece they're all sitting down, they still give their all vocally, emotionally and intellectually.
The piece centres on a father and daughter who front rival network news programmes. When a September 11-style atrocity occurs (one minute, breaking news of the attack; next minute, war is declared; next minute, "We won the war", and it's all over!), the father decides to retire and pass his coveted place on to daughter K., but she's determined to make her own reputation. Precisely 103 words from King Lear are woven into the script, and K is a conflation of both the loving Cordelia and the king's other two self-serving daughters, but the intense spirit flows through the whole piece. Fully deserving of the Fringe First it has been awarded.
Written for divento.com
Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.
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