Review: King Lear – Red Rose Chain

If you go down to the woods today you’re sure of a big surprise… That’s because Red Rose Chain have taken over a small clearing in Rendlesham Forest with their popular Theatre In The Forest.

This year the company turn their hand to King Lear, bringing Shakespeare’s work to life in the most colourful way imaginable, add into the mix some amazing costumes and a gold painted mobility scooter and you have all the ingredients for a great night out.

King Lear tells the story of a very old king in ancient Britain, who after deciding that he is no longer able to rule his kingdom divides his land between his three daughters. One princess was kind and beautiful, however her two elder sisters were not so pleasant and before long a tale of jealousy and evil unfolds.

A special mention must go to Edward Day, who returns to the forest this summer to take on the challenging role of King Lear; the talented actor brings a sense of humour into what is traditionally a very dark role. His entrance on stage is pure genius and Day excels in a comic role, however Lear gives us a chance to see just what a fine actor he is, with the moving storm scene of a king defeated.

Lauryn Redding makes her Theatre in the Forest debut playing both Cordelia, a female hero and Cornwall, a male villain. Redding tackles both roles well, with great enthusiasm, and some great facial expressions!

With strong performances throughout, this production of King Lear is a joy to watch. The action builds in the first half, before turning much darker after the interval. Joanna Carrick and her team at Red Rose are brilliant at turning every production they tackle into something special.

It’s true to say that King Lear is not the happiest of tales, however after the Red Rose ‘treatment’ the production is given a modern twist, making it enjoyable for all the family…and unusually for Lear, the final scene brought a smile to the faces of the audiences.

King Lear is at Rendlesham Forest until Sunday 26th August. To book tickets contact the Box Office on 01473 603388 or visit the website

Review: Wendy Cook, Ipswich24