“What if the great and tragic story of King Lear were to be told by the King’s closest companion?”

Nearly Lear is an emotional roller-coaster ride that has entranced both lovers of Shakespeare as well as newcomers to the Bard from Vancouver Island to Aberdeen, and from Broadway to the Sydney Opera House.

Upending expectations of what a Shakespeare play should be, Nearly Lear uses exuberant storytelling, music and film, as well as Shakespeare’s rich poetic text to take its audience firmly into the heart of this great story.”

Adapted from Shakespeare by Edith Tankus and Susanna Hamnett

Initial research and development in association with Emma Rice and Mike Shepherd of Kneehigh Theatre, England

Director: Edith Tankus
Lighting: Design Michelle Ramsay
Set Design: Lindsay Anne Black
Sound: Gavin Fearon
Film: David Parker


Reviews for “Nearly Lear”

“Everyone interested in the theatre and drama should have been at the Aberdeen Arts Centre last night, there should have been queues up and down King Street. Such is the mighty theatrical force that is Susanna Hamnett,  Edith Tankus and the one-woman version of Shakespeare’s King Lear – Nearly Lear (created with and directed by Edith Tankus)… bringing Shakespeare to life with a vibrancy the audience will never forget.”

Roddy Phillips, Aberdeen Press and Journal

“Squeezing one of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies into a tight 75 minutes is no simple feat. Equally challenging is transforming said work, which also happens to be one of his more death-ridden and violent, into a show suitable for youngsters…

This is the formidable task that the British-born actress Susanna Hamnett and director Edith Tankus have set for themselves — and accomplish with surprising brio and humour — in Nearly Lear an engaging solo show presented by the New Victory Theatre at the Duke on 42nd St, Broadway…”

Charles Isherwood- New York Times

 “Hamnett portrays at least six different characters effortlessly, never missing a beat or ceasing to explode with seemingly boundless energy. Her performance and the spot-on directorial skills of Edith Tankus create a character and a performance that viewers will not soon forget.”

Susie Potter, Triangle Arts and Entertainment. 

“…As comic as Norris the Fool’s retelling of Lear is, the tragedy and beauty of Shakespeare’s work comes through – but in a new and different way. Instead of showing us the story, in all its traditional grandeur, Norris tells it, in a way that is both gentle and devastating at the same time.”

Andrew O’Connor, CBC Radio