Directed by Fiona Smith​​


WED 23 - SAT 26 FEB 2022  


BBC London News segment on 'KING LEAR', with Nigel Andrews talking about his experience taking to the stage. TWO more performances left 25th - 26th Feb, tonight and tomorrow night at the Hampton Hill Theatre, London.





LEAR, king of Britain                                                      Nigel Andrews 

GONERIL, Lear’s eldest daughter                               Jane Marcus

DUKE OF ALBANY, her husband                              Robin Legard

OSWALD, her steward                                                  David Dadswell

REGAN, Lear’s second daughter                                 Helen Geldert

DUKE OF CORNWALL, her husband                      John Wilkinson

CORDELIA, Lear’s youngest daughter                      Anastasia Drew

KING OF FRANCE                                                      Kevin Sebastian-Pilli   

DUKE OF BURGUNDY, her suitor                          Filippos Dimitriou         

EARL OF KENT                                                             Peter Hill

FOOL                                                                               Fran Billington

EARL OF GLOUCESTER                                           Daniel Wain

EDGAR, his elder son                                                    Luke Daxon

EDMUND, his younger and illegitimate son              Lawrence McGrandles Jnr.

DOCTOR                                                                        Gita Singham-Willis

MESSENGER/ SOLDIER                                           Ron Hudson 


DIRECTOR                                                                     Fiona Smith     

STAGE MANAGER                                                      Harri Osborne   

SET  DESIGNER                                                            Patrick Troughton  LIGHTING DESIGNER                                                Rob Arundel           FIGHT CORDINATOR                                                Dane Hardie

COSTUME DESIGNERS:                                           Zoe Harvey-Lee

                                                                                            Junis Olmscheid 

                                                                                            Terri Creswell

                                                                                            Miriam King

PHOTOGRAPHY / VIDEO PROMOTION                Nigel Cole

SOUND DESIGNER                                                    Josh Bayfield

Photographed by Nigel Cole


Nigel Andrews as King Lear

Nigel Andrews was film critic for the Financial Times for 46 years, from 1973 to 2019. Twice named Critic of the Year in the British Press Awards (1985, 2002), his books include a star biography (TRUE MYTHS: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER) that became a TV bio-drama (SEE ARNOLD RUN), and the ‘biography’ of a famous movie: JAWS. 


He was educated at Lancing College, where he wrote, directed and acted in plays. His fellow actors included David Hare, Christopher Hampton and Tim Rice. For 20 years he wrote and presented arts programmes for BBC radio.

RTC - Fiona Smith

Who is Directing this production?

Fiona Smith, who has a strong track record locally of taking on challenging plays :  CONSPIRACY, CAUSE CELEBRE, THIS STORY OF YOURS ......

Fiona is passionate about this play – indeed about Shakespeare – and has a clear vision of how it should be staged for an audience in 2022.  She has been an inspirational force in bringing this first RTC production to fruition.



Because it’s there. Because it may be the best play ever written. Because it has a cast of brilliantly formed characters. And because – let’s push the boat out - it’s about our own time. Shakespeare’s dark, cruel, conclusionless yet reverberant drama is a canvas for the age of conflict and irresolvable wars, of political power misused and abused, of tragic schisms from the generational to the geopolitical.  

It’s also a play for the age of “What do we do with our old folk?”: a work as modern in its dissection of one man’s dementia-haunted decline as Florian Zeller’s The Father. It may even be a play for the age of climate change. Who but an English playwright, and the greatest of them (soon to author The Tempest), would put weather front-and-centre at the heart of his drama?  by Nigel Andrews

King Lear 23th - 26th February 2022

  From the Director...

'It is somewhat daunting, to have the wonderful opportunity to direct this emotionally demanding masterpiece, with its exquisite poetry, But with the superb cast and design crew assembled, I have no doubt we can produce a powerful piece of work.

A tragedy of Nature in its enormity and indifference,   'Is there any cause in Nature that makes these hard hearts?'  Of Kings & beggars, Of the weakness of old age,  Of Fathers demanding love, yet denying love, convinced of their own righteous outrage, but utterly devoid of self knowledge. Insight coming only at great cost. Lear finds understanding through insanity .'Reason in madness!' Gloucester has no clarity until he is blinded. 'I stumbled when I saw.' Lear replies 'Art mad? One may see how this world goes without eyes.'

Its ending apparently offers no transcendence from suffering, but desolation.

 The function of a great work, is not social justice or the triumph of human virtue. 

However, hope still does remain, from Cordelia, Kent and the Fool, who demonstrate with deeds not words the true meaning of love.''

'A critic plays King Lear: ‘Enough dishing it out, it’s time to face the music myself’

lear article financial times.png


Performance dates in FEB 2022

       Wednesday 23rd February      

      Thursday      24th February     

   Friday          25th February  

 Saturday     26th February


All shows start at 19:45

   Hampton Hill Theatre

​90 High St, Hampton Hill, Hampton TW12 1NZ

Rhinoceros Theatre Company presents Shakespeare's KING LEAR, in London 23th -26th February 2022 at Hampton Hill Theatre -
Hampton Hill Theatre
Hampton Hill Theatre

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Screen Shot 2022-01-31 at 12.57.15

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KING LEAR poster new
KING LEAR poster new

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Hampton Hill Theatre
Hampton Hill Theatre

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Take routes 285, R68 or R70 and alight at Parkside bus stop.


To Fulwell station, then a 15 minute walk to the theatre.


There are public car parks opposite the theatre in Taylor Close and behind Sainsbury's.



The Rhinoceros Theatre Company was founded in November 2021 by Nigel Andrews  - in collaboration with Robin Legard of TTC -  with the aim of putting on plays old, new and intermediate that are both timeless and of their time. 


Why is it called Rhinoceros Theatre Company?...

Because we, Nigel and Robin, first met when we staged a production of Ionesco’s RHINOCEROS at Cambridge University in 1968.  Nigel directed.  Robin played Dudard.  (And for the record, a young Salman Rushdie played The Logician). 

And because a rhinoceros is a fierce, powerful, primitive, determined, sometimes ungainly beast who can’t be deterred once set on a charge. Someone said to us, “Thick-skinned too.”

Well, why not?


We love the idea that a play is rooted and nourished in one particular historical moment or even, more richly, two – the moment in which it is set and the moment in which it was written.

KING LEAR, the first play we are staging, was born in both 800 BC (Lear’s supposed time) and 1606 (Shakespeare’s writing time).  It is from Ancient Anglia.  At the same time it is from Jacobean England. We want to carve both those signature times into our production. 

But a play must echo into our own time too.  And in every case the echo must come from the play and its own spirit, not from arbitrary gimmicks or applied overlays.  While not rejecting the cut-and-paste modernisms of current theatre fashion – such as gender and racial blindness - we won’t do it just because it IS a fashion. Our Fool in KING LEAR, for instance, is a woman. That’s because (s)he’s in so many ways an alter ego for Cordelia. (They have often been played by the same actor).

We believe a good play doesn’t just speak to an audience.  If it’s alive it sings and shouts.  It rages, jokes, weeps, serenades, philosophises.  A good play isn’t just a text; it’s a living nest of subtexts. And it isn’t just words. It’s the thoughts and emotions – the historical textures and enduring truths - that lie within, under, or around the words. 



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