It’s the done thing to bookend a high profile stage career with Hamlet and King Lear. Jonathon Pryce’s Olivier-winning Hamlet of thirty years ago – not to mention several more Oliviers in subsequent years – means this performance comes with career-defining potential; what performance of the Albion king does otherwise? Last year, Derek Jacobi’s Donmar Lear left audiences troubled and inspired. That actor’s chilling knack for a certain kind of shark-eyed meanness meant he had a long way to pull the audience round in time to sympathise with the lost and rheumy-eyed old man who sees out the final Act. Pryce has the beautiful elongated face of a spaniel and at times it’s hard to be sufficiently afraid of him, so it’s a wise move on his part to hint at something vaguely sexual in the violent rule he exerts over the three daughters. There are fewer of the type of soliloquies here that push Hamlet far into psychiatric territory but Lear is favoured by many as the quintessential psychological study in the canon. It certainly matches the Danish play for fraught family romance but Lear is less an observer than the unhappy prince; he lives at the very fulcrum of the court’s adoration and when that particular wheel ceases to turn, misery and harm flood the palace. As Pryce descends bewildered into the seventh season of man, Shakespeare’s description of old age in As You Like It – ‘second childishness and mere oblivion’ – is masterfully devastating to witness.