Birmingham Stage Company

King Lear

25 September 2012

And so I'm sitting here, late into the night, watching Peter Brook's film KING LEAR with Paul Scofield as the King. And Barry Stanton as Oswald. I've rarely felt luckier.  Barry played Big Daddy in our production of CAT IN A HOT TIN ROOF. Paul Scofield was our patron. Paul came up to see the show with his wife Joy - Barry predicted they would only say a brief hello afterwards - but Paul and Joy were the last people to leave the building! Paul was overjoyed with the performances of Sandra Reinton and Marcus D'Amico and Maggie and Brick. It was the first of four BSC productions they came to see. So to see Paul and Barry performing together in this film - it's something special. Paul is excoriating in the role - he strips everything bare, down to the raw bone. And everyone is soooo good. Irene Worth as Goneril is unforgettable, Patrick Magee as the Duke of Cornwall - terrifying. Peter Brook has created a truly recognisable world and distilled the essence of the play. And the internet being what it is, you can watch Paul play "Oh reason not the need" and then turn to see Olivier do the same speech - with such a contrast. Paul is like granite. Olivier in weak desperation: it made such an impression on me when I first saw it when I was 17. I love these actors. It is a marvel that the internet brings them into your living room, performing some of their greatest work, while you sit in your armchair. What an unconditional treat!

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