I think Jenny's comments about Edmund are pretty accurate. He seemed a bit inexperienced for the role and struggling to match the heavyweights round him like Frances Barber, William Gaunt and McKellen. For a role so integral to the piece, that was a problem for me. For me, his villainy was actually too obvious - I never once believed him when he was lying to his father or to Edgar and his switches into gloating Edmund with the audience were played almost like a panto villain at times. I don't know to what extent that's the direction Trevor Nunn edged him towards but to me it came across as the slightly unsubtle performance of someone relatively young.
I wish I could have found him in any way villainous, but when he was going about his supposed deception of Edgar and Gloucester, all I saw and heard was how cheerful he seemed and it just didn't work for me. The soliloquies were a complete letdown, especially the gestures which I assume are what reminded you of panto villains (I'd have to agree with that comparison) and where there was *nothing* expressed of the darkness of Edmund's character that the text calls for, particularly the soliloquy in scene 1.2 which actually made me cringe when I saw it here. I did have a ticket for seeing Lear on Saturday March 31st as well, but I found that I wasn't terribly interested in seeing it again, which surprised me since I often see really good productions more than once, occasionally on up to three or four consecutive nights if it's especially good. After enjoying a most excellent production of Coriolanus on Friday, I returned my Lear ticket for resale and opted instead for seeing that marvellous production of Coriolanus again on its closing night. I might have been more inclined to like it beforehand, as Coriolanus is one of my favourite plays, but that was a stunning production and Houston's performance utterly magnificent. Hard to believe that that one isn't transferring to London, but then I'm often mystified by exactly how they arrive at the decision on which ones will transfer and which ones won't.