Review: LEAR'S FOOL, Bard in the Botanics

David Henry Wilson’s play makes its Scottish debut

By: Sep. 20, 2023
Review: LEAR'S FOOL, Bard in the Botanics

Review: LEAR'S FOOL, Bard in the Botanics

Lear's Fool by David Henry Wilson makes its Scottish debut and is staged by Bard in the Botanics. The play looks at what happened to The Fool who mysteriously disappears in King Lear. 

Despite many years of theatre-going, I'm relatively new to Shakespeare but Bard in the Botanics has been consistently accessible when I've been. In the programme is a brief summary of the plot of King Lear and how The Fool disappears at the height of the King's madness in the original text. 

Lear's Fool begins with The Fool (Nicole Cooper) being led into a prison by a guard- John (Sam Stopford). The Fool tries to engage a reluctant John but he is fast won over by her charm and humour. His captain (Johnny Panchaud) commands him to prepare for battle and questions The Fool as to what she has learned from the King before he went mad. 

The setup of the performance stage in Kibble Palace is traverse style so the audience is fully immersed in the action. With it being pitch black outside by the time of performance, the darkness above the glass ceiling and the rain battering down is wonderfully atmospheric for this tragedy. 

The writing is grim at times but peppered with humour and this is where Nicole Cooper truly excels. She's a mischievous joker but also human, and devastated by the downfall and treatment of the king she is so loyal to. It's touching at times, she is reunited with her King (Finlay McLean) and his beloved Cordelia (Stephanie McGregor) before the final tragic scene plays out. 

Lear's Fool works beautifully as a standalone piece of theatre with some exceptional performances from the whole cast.

Photo credit: Tommy Ka-Ken Wan




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From This Author - Natalie O'Donoghue

Natalie has been covering for BroadwayWorld Scotland since 2013 and heads up the site's Edinburgh Festival Fringe coverage. Based in Glasgow, she covers as much as she can around Scotland and is a... Natalie O'Donoghue">(read more about this author)

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