The reviews are in for ‘King Lear’ at Park Square

Shakespeare’s King Lear is given a Godfather-like treatment in Park Square’s latest production.

Critics found moments thrilling, but say the show as a whole was uneven.


The cast of Park Square’s King Lear

Photo: Petronella Ytsma

From Janet Preus at

…The role in this play is Lear and [Raye] Birk is impressive… The deeper Birk’s Lear descends into madness, the clearer his life becomes, and the more worthy of redemption. In this, Birk was in full control.


Jim Lichtscheidl and Jennfier Blagen in Park Square’s King Lear

Photo: Petronella Ytsma

From Dominic P. Papatola at the Pioneer Press:

Director Peter Moore has set Shakespeare’s tale of faithless children and political intrigue in Prohibition-era America, with the eponymous ruler as a gangster kingpin straight out of a Mario Puzo novel. Imposing a strong “concept” like this on Shakespeare is always a tricky proposition, and at Park Square, it’s not an entirely successful experiment.

…as the king descends into madness because of his own poor decisions and his daughters’ avaricious disregard, the Italianate frame starts to take on some tarnish. When Lear rages at the storm, his rant is punctuated by the mad king taking potshots with a handgun, giving the famous and wrenching scene an almost comical bent.


Stacie Rice as Regan and Stephen D’Ambrose as Gloucester in Park Square’s King Lear

Photo: Petronella Ytsma

From Graydon Royce at the Star Tribune:

To twist a phrase, the parts are greater than the sum in Park Square Theatre’s production of “King Lear.” This makes for an uneven experience full of equivocation. Moments shriek with grisly electricity and fearless stagecraft; others yawn with fuzzy exposition and an opaque orientation of place and narrative.

King Lear runs through November 11 at Park Square. Did you see the show? What’s your review?

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