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Hail on the 'King'

November 14, 1987

Sylvie Drake's review of "King Lear" at the Los Angeles Theatre Center was far too generous (" 'King Lear' Beset by Big Imaginations," Nov. 9). The play, which she describes as variously good, bad and silly, was, in our view, an unmitigated disaster, a defalcated parody, that reduced Shakespeare's masterpiece to the tritest of soap operas.

It was the worst professional production we have ever had the misfortune to witness. The acting was universally bad, the cast miscast, the directing poor, the staging emetic and the costumes a hopelessly anachronistic frenzy of Hollywood kitsch and medieval peonage.

We left the theater as soon as we could, ruing our evidently unwarranted faith in the quality of Theatre Center productions and wondering how something like this "King Lear" could have even made it to one of the center's four stages.

Perhaps director Stein Winge's "innovative" approach to Shakespeare has inspired a "cult following" in his native Norway (to quote the program). If so, this "Lear" at the Theatre Center seems to have lost not a little in translation.

MATTHEW A. LAMBERTI

IRENE M. LAMBERTI

Santa Barbara

Please keep letters brief and include full name, address and phone number. Mail to Calendar Letters, Los Angeles Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles 90053.

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