Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson, Emily Watson, Jim Broadbent, Tobias Menzies, Christopher Eccleston and Andrew Scott: the BBC’s adaptation of King Lear certainly wasn’t short of A-list stars. Yet could this collection of performers do justice to the Shakespeare classic?
In a word: absolutely. Viewers were quick to praise the magnificent cast as they told the story of 80-year-old Lear, a ruler of Britain who sought to divide up his kingdom between his daughters – a division that led to a collapse into chaos, madness and warfare.
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I am gripped by #KingLear one of the best adaptations I have seen.
Emma Thompson and Jim Carter are sensational.
Jim Broadbent and Emily Watson are wonderful
And Sir Anthony Hopkins is just magnificent!
This has always been one of my favourites but this is one another level! pic.twitter.com/2FGcMfgcHC
— Nairn L McDonald FRSA – #WearAMask (@NairnMcD) May 28, 2018
This #KingLear is a wonderful testament to the wealth of superb actors we have on the UK stage.
— Sarah Hemming (@SarahHemm) May 28, 2018
In particular, Hopkins, who played the titular troubled ruler, was singled out as a “master artist” and “mesmerising”.
Hopkins isn't just an actor – he's a master artist – he employs minimalism …stillness – but at the same time he's a giant …this is a masterclass- those with the power must get him back on stage – believe me – it's like being in the presence of a God #KingLear
— Tim A Roberts (@Tim_A_Roberts) May 28, 2018
— Eilis O'Donnell (@eilis_mod) May 28, 2018
— Guy Holland (@guyholland69) May 28, 2018
— Jon Massey (@JonMasseyActor) May 28, 2018
Plus, Thompson, who starred as the power-hungry Goneril, gave an “unforgettable” performance, according to viewers.
Emma Thompson really is almost unbelievably good as Goneril! Honestly the level of acting talent this cast has is mind blowing. #KingLear
— Emily Matthews (@EmilyM141) May 28, 2018
The hype was right for once: this is a definitive television adaptation of #KingLear – Emma Thompson currently giving us an unforgettable Goneril.
— Duncan (@shaksper) May 28, 2018
Emma Thompson is just amazing. She even makes Goneril vaguely appealing. #KingLear
— Cerulean Man ???????? ????️???? (@Cerulean_Man) May 28, 2018
Director Richard Eyre was also praised for delivering a spectacularly cinematic version of the play to screen.
— Shakespeare Magazine (@UKShakespeare) May 28, 2018
This TV production #KingLear is glorious—a triumph for the cast, director Richard Eyre and the BBC
— Graham Farmelo (@grahamfarmelo) May 28, 2018
And even though some struggled with the Shakespearean language…
#kinglear Is there a condition called "aural dyslexia" as I hear words I understand but they make no sense!
— Pigdowndog (@Pigdowndog) May 28, 2018
— Grey Wolf ? (@Grey_Wolf_1) May 28, 2018
I sometimes think other countries have it better with Shakespeare as they can always translate it into a language the audience can understand #kinglear
— charlie higson (@monstroso) May 28, 2018
…Most declared the show one of the best Shakespeare adaptations they’ve seen.
Oh this is brilliant, bravo BBC #KingLear
— Richard Coles (@RevRichardColes) May 28, 2018
— Ivuš Rainbow Head (@IvusRainbowHead) May 28, 2018
Best thing on TV for ages #KingLear
— Olivia Reeves (@LiviErin) May 28, 2018