Hamlet for young actors, King Lear for the more mature; the big Shakespearean challenges.
And if you’re an amateur you need to be on solid ground with good back-up to pull these off successfully.
Sadly, Titchfield Festival Theatre’s latest offering doesn’t hit the dizzy heights. The whole thing is just too rough around the edges, with muffed technical cues, actors overspeaking one another and one actor even slipping on his glasses to read his lines from a crib-sheet.
What it lacks, mostly, is variety in delivery. As Lear, Stewart Trotter delivers the verse well enough, but it’s not easy to spot the difference between Lear the sane and Lear the mad; it’s all too measured and generally lacks attack and passion.
There’s also a good deal of arch and obvious ‘evil acting’ from the baddies and a cast-wide over-use of gesture to illustrate the verse. Just not necessary.
The acting big-guns do come out, however, in the slight form of Sam Goodall as Edgar. Here is genuine pain, genuine frustration, genuine feeling and a damn fine sword-fight with Josh Coates’ Edmund.
A little more attention to the technicalities of performance would shape it up nicely.