Every inch a king

7th March 1997 at 00:00
At the Leicester Haymarket, Kathryn Hunter, diminutive in a man's dark suit and a wispy white beard, succeeds in inhabiting the outsize personality of suffering Lear. Her voice, deep and authoritative, invests the soliloquies with emotion and power. "Blow winds", delivered as if she is daring Nature, is spine-tingling.

Helena Kaut-Howson's production of King Lear opens in a hospital where Hunter, an old woman, angry and helpless, goes into cardiac arrest. The plot takes over, as if in her head. A mercurial Fool (Marcello Magni) and surreal visual effects - Lear and exiles in a bath-tub with umbrellas - are strong ideas from a too-mixed bag of a production. heather neill Until March 15. Tickets: 0116 253 9797

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