Shielding family theatre company Oddsocks present King Lear from home to online viewers

Andy Barrow as King Lear.Andy Barrow as King Lear.
Andy Barrow as King Lear.
Family run theatre company Oddsocks will stream their final Stay At Home Shakespeare production, a comedy version of King Lear.

Creative producer Elli Mackenzie said: “Our daughter, Charlie, has a very rare condition which puts her at severe risk of complications if she contracts Covid-19. So even though open air performance is now allowed, it’s not an option for us just yet.”

Oddsocks have been entertaining audiences on open-air summer tours around the country for more than 30 years and was the only British theatre company to perform in Jordan and Syria in the 1990s.

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The company hope to perform live again in September but, meanwhile, will entertain their fans with King Lear which goes out live online on Friday, July 31 at 7pm.

Their comedy King Lear will be streamed live from the family's home in Derby, using only the camera equipment they have to hand; their laptops, a couple of mobile phones and their Cannon 750. Each scene, performed in different rooms around their house in real time are edited live by director of photography Kee Ramsorrun, working remotely from his studio in Margate.

"We are like swans in water during the actual 45-minute performance." says Elli who is playing both of Lear's elder daughters, Goneril and Regan in the production, "the aim is to make it look smooth but it's rehearsed mayhem off camera. During scenes, when one of us is not in shot, we are busy changing costumes, moving props for each other, setting up rooms and moving cameras into new positions throughout, which is quite a challenge. When we performed 'Macbeth' back in May we drew an audience of thousands watching it go out live online so we are hoping for as big an audience this time round. It takes a lot of preparation and weeks of rehearsing and we have just one chance to get it right. It's exciting though and keeps us in practice whilst we can't tour."

Dad and artistic director Andy Barrow's Lear is a man at the end of his career. Losing his grip on the modern world and looking forward to peaceful retirement, cared for by his three adoring daughters in turn, but after falling out with his youngest, life in a bubble with the remaining two is not quite as comfortable as he imagined. "He is quite demanding as a house guest" explains Andy "and unfortunately won't part with his entourage of a hundred knights, who his daughters struggle to accommodate".

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Asked how the family of three are going to portray a hundred knights, Andy responds: "We'll have worked something out by the time we go live and it will be bonkers I suspect".

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With the enforced change of approach that sheilding has imposed, a lot of Oddsocks' trademark comedy style now comes from the finding creative ways of setting the play within the confines of the family's home. "The blasted heath Lear escapes to will probably be our front garden-" "-with me on garden hose duty" adds Charlie. Andy said: "The hovel he takes shelter in may end up being the garage to be honest. We've built up quite a following for our Stay Home Shakespeare's and we will have to make sure that regular popular features make an appearance, like the 'red spatula of doom' and you'll have to tune in to find out what that is".

You can join Andy, Elli and daughter Charlie as they breathe family life into King Lear by going to

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