“Oh let me not be mad...” Big Finish is delighted to release its second Shakespeare adaptation, King Lear.
With an all-star ensemble cast performing one of the classics of literature, Big Finish’s adaptation of King Lear is out now.
In an ancient Britain of warring nobles and sibling rivalries, power is a precarious thing. When the ageing King Lear declares that he will divide his kingdom in three to prevent future strife, he unwittingly sets in motion a chain of events that will unravel into treachery, horror, conflict and death.
Renowned for its pathos and poetry as much as for its savage violence, Shakespeare’s wildest tragedy remains as thrilling and relevant today as when it was first performed: King Lear is a tale of politics, ambition, greed, vanity, betrayal, love, pride, madness, war and bloody vengeance.
The phenomenal cast includes David Warner (Titanic, Tron) as King Lear, Louise Jameson (Doctor Who, The Omega Factor) as Goneril, Lisa Bowerman (Doctor Who, Casualty) as Regan, Finty Williams (Mrs Brown, Cranford) as Cordelia, Raymond Coulthard (Hotel Babylon, The English Patient) as Edmund, Gwilym Lee (Midsomer Murders, Jamestown) as Edgar, Paul Shelley (Secret Army, Polanski's Macbeth) as The Earl of Kent, Tony Millan (Citizen Smith, Alexei Sayle's Stuff) as The Earl of Gloucester, Ray Fearon (Harry Potter, Beauty and the Beast) as The Duke of Cornwall, Nicholas Pegg (Doctor Who, Doc Martin) as The Duke of Albany, Mike Grady (Last of the Summer Wine, Citizen Smith) as The Fool, Trevor Cooper (Star Cops, Wizards vs. Aliens) as Oswald, and Barnaby Edwards (Doctor Who, Children of Men) as The King of France.
Barnaby Edwards, director, shared his thoughts on this one-of-a-kind production for Big Finish: “King Lear is a magnificent, brutal, heartbreaking, elemental masterpiece. In my opinion, it jostles Hamlet for the top spot in Shakespeare’s canon. It’s at once domestic (fathers and their offspring, brothers, sisters, husbands and wives) and universal (the abnegation of authority, the toppling of kingdoms, the collapse of order resulting in a descent into chaos).
“One man – Lear – makes a single, selfish decision which sets in motion a series of events which have catastrophic consequences for his family, his friends and his kingdom. The themes are arrestingly relevant to the world in which we find ourselves today."
“To be or not to be: that is the question…”
Following the death of his father, the King of Denmark, young prince Hamlet returns home to find his mother married to his uncle: the late king’s brother, Claudius.
When Hamlet is later visited by the ghost of his father, he learns that the murderer was actually the King's own brother and vows to take revenge. However, Hamlet’s contemplative nature works against him, breeding doubt and hesitation at every turn, until the only certainties he has left are madness, betrayal and murder…