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Swiss man of many parts plays Lear

Swiss actor and comedian Jean-Luc Bideau is to play "Lear" in Paris (picture: L'Illustré)

The Geneva-born actor and comedian Jean-Luc Bideau is to play the title role in a new theatre production of "Lear" by the British playwright Edward Bond.

A former member of the Comédie-Française, Bideau will be the only member of the cast to play one role in the play, written by Bond in 1973 and regarded by many as his greatest - and biggest - theatre achievement.

Some 70 other roles will be interpreted by 20 actors.

Loosely based on Shakespeare's "King Lear", the Bond play takes a 21st century look at man's inhumanity to man, blending wild farce with tragedy, but ending with a touch of hope. Like the original, it is a story of vengeance and fear, told with what one critic has described as "bleak poetry and social comedy".

Directed by Christophe Perton, "Lear" opens at Valence in France next week, and will later be performed in Paris.

Bideau, who was born in 1940, has had a distinguished acting career on stage, screen and television. His film career includes leading roles in "The Red Violin", "Ashanti" and "Jonah Who Will Be 25 In The Year 2000".

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