The Shadow King

The Shadow King is an Aboriginal retelling of King Lear, retold by Malthouse Theatre and performed at the Barbican. Against a backdrop of dry red earth, the tale is told using a mix of Shakespeare’s words and new scenes.

When you are aware of the importance of land to the Aborigines, the play King Lear, about an ageing king who divides his kingdom between his daughters, takes on a different resonance, and in a way it’s the most moving and powerful Lear I’ve seen, rich with symbolism. Tom E Lewis as the titular king and Kamahi Djordan King as the engaging Fool give great performances, and when the one act play ended – all too soon – I was deeply moved.

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