King Lear

Meteor Theatre, 1 Victoria Street, Hamilton

05/08/2011 - 20/08/2011

Production Details


A return of winter Shakespeare this month will see the opening of Fullhouse Productions’ season of King Lear at the Meteor Theatre this August.

King Lear is widely regarded as William Shakespeare’s greatest achievement. Based on the Legend of the Leir of Britain, a mythological pre-Roman Celtic king, the play has been widely adapted for the stage and motion pictures.

An ageing king abdicates. There’s a scramble to fill the power vacuum. Loyalties are tested. Families disintegrate as children turn against parents… and each other. King Lear tells a poignant tale of tragedy, power, greed and murder.

“This is such a visceral play, it’s full of jolts and sudden connections. King Lear is like Shakespeare on nitrous oxide – a massive high followed by a spectacular crash-and-burn ending.” says Director Michael Switzer. 

“The characters are meaty, muscular and compelling, the language is the sweetest poetry in the bleakest setting. I’m thrilled the cast has been so open to diving right in the deep end of this play.” 

Fullhouse’s resume includes The Miser of Mystery Creek, Lovepuke, Death of a Salesman and An Italian Straw Hat.

Lear himself will be performed by ‘Laird of Hamilton’ Graeme Cairns, supported by a seasoned and well cast group of actors.

This is a show not to be missed for Shakespeare lovers, theatre lovers and those who are after an epic night out.

When: August 5, 6, 11, 12, 14, 18, 19 20
Time: 7.30pm (duration 2 hours 30 including interval)
Venue: Meteor Theatre, Hamilton
Tickets: $28 adults, $18 students from ( – booking fees apply.  

Lear: Graeme Cairns
Kent: John Hunter
Gloucester: David Sutcliffe
Goneril: Sarah Nathan
Regan: Fiona Bradley-Artis
Cordelia: Zoe Vaile
Cornwall: Alec Forbes
Albany: Mark Houlahan
Edmond: Nick Wilkinson
Edgar: James Cain
Fool: Jenna Hudson
Oswald: Calvin Petersen
France: Dave Taylor
Burgundy: Ari Nuttall

Executive Producer: Nicolas Wells
Producer(s): Kylie Nichol, Rebecca Bowater, Hannah Wright
Publicity: Kylie Nichol
Dramaturg: Mark Houlahan
Stage Manager: Hannah Wright
Inkmaster: Fiona Martin
Costume Designer: Sally Switzer
Costume Assistant: Rebecca Bowater
Sewers:  Ann Elphick, Margaret Finclair, Ruth Abblett, Robyn Winder, Kelly Willoughby, Vanessa McColl, Logan Wallace, Hazel Whitley, Jenny Brown, Hannah Brett, Waikato Extentions Embroidery Group
Make up: Rebecca Bowater
Set Dresser: Sally Switzer
Props Builder: John Carr
Props Team: Hannah Wright, Rebecca Bowater, Philip Garrity
Weapons Master: Jeremy Greenfield
Combat Master: Brendan West
Swords made by: Brendan West
Lighting Design: Aaron Chesham
Lighting & Sound Operator: Shaun Budgen
Theatre Technician: Aron Neville
Musicians: Dave Taylor, Ari Nuttall-Parton
Pyrotechnics: Martin van Tiel
FOH Co-ordinator: Andy Kaye
Education Pack Co-ordinator: Rebecca Bowater 

Great play done exceptionally well

Review by Gail Pittaway 09th Aug 2011

Full House Productions deserve full houses for this gripping, fast-paced performance of one of the most complex plays Shakespeare ever wrote. Michael Switzer’s direction is imaginative, yet makes clear the many factions and rival jealousies that arise when aging Lear decides to divide his kingdom between three daughters, as long as they can prove how much they love him.

There are many reasons to see this production. The casting is excellent, the costumes splendid and the stage design and properties along with the use of live drums and natural trumpets add to the sense of a feudal kingdom, with extremes of power and poverty.

Graeme Cairns gives Lear a passionate reading of this complicated character, with full range from tetchy to tragic. As his competing daughters, Sarah Nathan and Fiona Artis are compellingly treacherous.

Also outstanding, Nick Wilkinson’s duplicitous Edmond matches James Cain’s naïve Edgar while Alec Forbes and Mark Houlahan give strong performances as husbands of the evil sisters. Cain’s Poor Tom character delivers some of Shakespeare’s most poetic lines and the scenes between Tom and blinded Gloucester (David Sutlcliffe) are particularly fine.

Zoe Vaile as Cordelia, and Jenna Hutson as the Fool also shine, as does Calvin Peterson the traitor Oswald, and John Hunter as Kent.

Showcasing some of Hamilton’s finest actors, the production shows us how talented our local pool truly is. It’s one of the great plays done exceptionally well. See it! 
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