Theater: Dimming Shakespeare's Glories

Briton Kenneth Branagh bows in Los Angeles, with mixed results

When Britain's new and little-known Renaissance troupe was booked to play King Lear and A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, the nine-week run sold out before the first preview. The draw: the U.S. stage debut of the company's founder, Kenneth Branagh, 28. His gutsy current film of Henry V has won him comparison to Orson Welles and Laurence Olivier. As he did in the film, Branagh onstage would triple as impresario, director and star -- with the fillip of featuring his wife of five months, Emma Thompson, as Midsummer's willowy Helena and Lear's gnarled Fool....

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!