A FAR cry from Shakespeare’s King Lear, this early 1970s take on the Lear legend by Edward Bond makes for a harrowing evening, and, at over three hours, a challenge to the concentration as well as the strength of the stomach.

Lear (a likeable Nick Barclay) obsessed by building a wall to protect his kingdom, is usurped by his two daughters, the warped and duplicitous Fontanelle and Bodice, and forced to find shelter in a wood, but is later caught, tortured and shot by the rebels, who have in turn captured the kingdom from his daughters.

The play alternates periods of calm and chaos, peace and violence, with characters mutilated, executed and appearing as ghosts, but SUSU, with Tom Searle’s Warrington and James Forster’s Gravedigger’s boy standing out in a talented multi-role cast, created a production to be proud of, greatly helped by Alexander Glyde-Bates original live music.