Duke of York's Theatre

104 St Martin's Lane, London, WC2N 4BG GB

King Lear

King Lear Tickets

4.9/5 - based on 23 reviews
  • Starring: Ian McKellen
Tickets from £50.00 Show Closed
  • Information
  • Reviews

About King Lear

Show Closed
This show is now closed.

Performance Times
Mon - -
Tue - 19:00
Wed - 19:00
Thu - 19:00
Fri - 19:00
Sat 13:30 19:00
Sun - -

Ian McKellen

King Lear description

Ian McKellen! Who cares what the show is, I’m buying tickets for that!
Well, good. But also, read on to find out more about the show. King Lear is one of Shakespeare’s most difficult parts to play – it’s been covered by legends like Geoffrey Rush, Don Warrington, Simon Russell Beale and Glenda Jackson – and that’s only in the last few years! McKellen played this version of Lear at Chichester Festival Theatre in autumn 2017 and it got (as expected) a raft of 5-star reviews.

About time McKellen is back in the West End then!
It always feels too long when he’s gone, but it’s actually only been 18 months or so. McKellen last came to Wyndham’s Theatre in 2016 with close friend and theatre legend Patrick Stewart, for No Man’s Land. It got McKellen as Olivier Award nominee – not Stewart though. Rivalry!

He must have loads of Olivier Awards!
He does have a few that’s for sure – five wins and 5 further nominations. His last nomination (before No Man’s Land) was actually for King Lear. He performed it back in 2007 at New London Theatre under Trevor Nunn. This one however is directed by Jonathan Munby.

So how long is this show on for?
Only 100 performances! It previews on 11 July and runs until 3 November, so demand will be high. Even more so, because the Duke of York Theatre is removing half of its stalls seats for this performance to make way for an extended staging. That’s at least 150 seats per performance that won’t be there anymore. Uh oh!

Not only, but McKellen has hinted that this might be his last ever Shakespeare role. He’s been acting for 57 years, so he’s definitely paid his dues. No pressure for getting to see this last hoorah then!

King Lear reviews

4.9 out of 5 based on 23 reviews

What to expect:


Recommended for:

Anyone (35%)
Families (39%)
Teenagers (39%)
Couples (52%)
Theatregoers (100%)
Latest customer reviews
Amazing acting

Reviewed on 04 November 2018 by , Milton Keynes, United Kingdom

Sir Ian McKellern at his Shakespeare Best

An excellent modern rendition of the play. The set was very good and easy to manage through the acts. Special mention for the actors that played the Countess of Kent, Edmund, Edgar and the Fool, They played their scenes exceptionally well. The casting of Reagan as a bit of a 'evil whore' was different and a excellent take on a moral compass.

Reviewed on 22 October 2018 by , Northampton, United Kingdom

Intense, amazing theatre

Reviewed on 15 October 2018 by , Crawley, United Kingdom

Nina Anne
Moving and utterly real Lear

Ian McKellan's Lear was unlike any I'd seen before ... his "Reason not the need" speech was the pinnacle of his anger. After that, we saw a broken, tired man. In the final act, when he came on stage with Cordelia's body, his "Howl, howl, howl" was devoid of the usual angry energy ... he was a man totally defeated. It was very real and entirely moving. Also, Kent was believably and beautifully played as a woman by Sinead Cusack. The intimate theater space was the perfect venue for this play.

Reviewed on 14 October 2018 by , Sausalito, United States

Lear Exposed

A very contempory interpretation with a female Kent and a coloured Cordelia/France. An unbelievable energy in the old Lear and compelling pathos at the tragic end. A production that highlighted the ego-infatuation of this old abusive king who did not, even at the end, abandon the fond illusion of his own authority to compel Nature to obey him, and live happily ever after as songbirds in a cage.

Reviewed on 07 October 2018 by , Newry, United Kingdom

Mckellan excellent!

Mckellen excellent in an otherwise mediocre production. Like a fine wine improved with time.

Reviewed on 07 October 2018 by , London, United Kingdom

Mckellan's take on Lear

Reviewed on 07 October 2018 by , Aspen, United States

Excellent acting

Reviewed on 06 October 2018 by , Much Hadham, United Kingdom

a tour de force marred by guzzlers

The acting was brilliant throughout. Though the King of France wasn’t as strong as the others and his diction was a bit muffled.Experience was somewhat spoilt however by the sounds of constant fluffing, guzzling and crunching from fellow audience members eating crisps and drinking bottles of wine that they had brought into the auditorium! If you want to eat please go to a restaurant but when you’ve paid over £70 for a ticket it’s irritating to have to hear chomping and glugging. One other gripe I’d have is that I tried to call the box-office to enquire about reselling some surplus tickets at 5:30pm but I was kept waiting for over 10 minutes on a premium phone line with no answer.

Reviewed on 23 September 2018 by , London, United Kingdom

Must see

Reviewed on 22 September 2018 by , Moscow, Russian Federation

Must see

A fantastic opportunity to see extraordinary talent in such an intimate setting. Words cannot describe the power and impact of Mckellen's Lear. Superb in every way, a once in a lifetime privilege and worth every penny.

Reviewed on 21 September 2018 by , Palo Alto, United States

Professionally engaging

Reviewed on 14 September 2018 by , Forest Hill, Australia

A Great Show

A great show with acting and staging that makes London Theater the place to be. A fantastic performance by Ian Mckellen.

Reviewed on 13 September 2018 by , Menlo Park, United States

Ian McKellan shines among other young stars!

Reviewed on 13 September 2018 by , Atlanta, United States

A must see

A must see. The plot is quite heavy and a good glass of wine afterwards is necessary.Superb acting, props, stage management and lighting

Reviewed on 02 September 2018 by , Lymington, United Kingdom

A must see

Reviewed on 01 September 2018 by , Biella, Italy


I have seen many productions of King Lear but I thought Ian Mckellan's Lear was very human and made one very aware of the effects of age and suffering on a person. The two daughters were portrayed as less than sympathetic characters and the contrast in the characters of Edmond and Edgar was well defined. Kent portrayed as a woman was interesting and her loyalty to Lear made very clear. The irony and pity of the final scene was very moving. This play is not suitable for children, obviously, or for people who are just looking for a fun night out. It might be preferable to know at least something of the story before seeing the play.

Reviewed on 29 July 2018 by , London, United Kingdom