In Kelly's Shakespeare-inspired tale of corporate greed, Irons plays Colm, a CEO who has spent his life building a global empire. But when he decides to divide power between his subordinates, his world begins to fracture and a bloody power struggle ensues.
The cast also includes Helen Schlesinger, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Karen Archer, Neal Barry, Babou Ceesay, Sam Hazeldine, Joanna Horton, Stephen Noonan, Luke Norris, Sally Orrock, Laurence Spellman, John Stahl, and Matthew Wilson. The production is designed by David Holmes.
The critics have weighed in and are giving praise to both Irons and other members of the company for their performances, but the reviews are being less kind to Kelly's latter day King Lear.
Among the reviews are:
The Gods Weep
"You can't fault the acting. But I still feel that Kelly's apocalyptic vision of Britain is Shakespeare's legacy rather than something forged from his own experience."
"An agonised Jeremy Irons manages to make you sympathise with the guilt-haunted Colm, and forges a genuinely loving relationship with Joanna Horton's kindly, pragmatic Barbara. "
The Gods Weep at Hampstead Theatre, NW3
"The best of the imaginative, preposterous and finally very dull play that Dennis Kelly has written for the RSC's Hampstead season comes at the very start. That's when Jeremy Irons's suave, steely Colm, who has brutally built a small company into a vast multinational, divides his realm in two, making his least loveable subordinates joint CEOs and firing his son, whom he accuses of being too weak to take his own child's arm "and break it across your knee"."
"Won't tell you how it ends, just say I wish it had ended far sooner."
The Gods Weep
"Next to the driving urgency of the world conjured so expertly in Rupert Goold's production of Enron, the stage here is drained of tension, partly because it's difficult to always work out what's going on, or to care. In the circumstances, the actors cope admirably to keep hold of its weird shifts in tone, place and pace, and though it is good to see Irons returning to the RSC after an absence of some 23 years, it's a pity that he has not been lured back to re-establish his classical credentials but instead to add lustre to this lacklustre new play."
The Gods Weep
"It is over 20 years since Jeremy Irons played an impressive Richard II for the Royal Shakespeare Company, and he brings all his old charm and crack-voiced swagger to the role of a modern King Lear in Dennis Kelly's new play The Gods Weep.
"It's all a bit wild and woolly, but never boring, with lots of ferociously and indiscriminately foul language and countless cocked triggers that fail to go bang when pulled."
For further information, visit: www.rsc.org.uk.
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