★★★★ – regally captivating.
“To state the matter shortly, the sovereign has, under a constitutional monarchy such as ours, three rights – the right to be consulted, the right to encourage, the right to warn,” is the foundational line of King Charles III, and wherein the tension is built from.
In a society where the monarchy has a strong presence among the masses, the topic of the crown and ascension is common talk between people who often wonder what would happen if Prince Charles would abdicate from ruling, and instead allow the way for Prince William to assume the throne. However, in this production, Charles is looking forward to a short but productive reign.
Towering performances from the cast indulged the spectators most rivetingly. With a cast of thirteen actors, mostly multi-part playing, it became an intimate and versatile visual exhibition. A plot so unexpected and gripping formed a formidable evening that I will remember for a long time; being a Shakespeare fanatic, I was personally spoiled by the reciting of blank verse with sheer conviction and flair that one would see be exhibited at the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Robert Powell, who played Mark Williams in BBC’s Holby City, donned the role of King Charles, and though he did not appear to embody Prince Charles as a whole, fragments and particular mannerisms he conveyed, transported your belief into visualising Prince Charles in the body of Powell. The hand movement, and the way he walked were characteristic of the Prince of Wales. Powell masterminded the role and ‘goosebumps’ were felt during key speeches and throughout his outbursts of anger.
The play darkened as the split between royalty and the possibility of an emerging republic took hold of a fictitious Britain. Performances by Jennifer Bryden (Kate Middleton) and Tim Treloar (Mr Evans) contributed effortlessly to the magnificence of the drama. Jennifer portraying Kate in a multifaceted manner commanded a lot of the tense scenes; Tim’s passionate and clever conveyance of Mr Evans dictated the unbalance that Britain was put under by the unravelling obscure and tricky laws that, if true, would capsize everything we know about our country.
Mike Bartlett’s writing and Rupert Goold’s direction pampered the audience with the arousal of the senses and with the hanging at the edge of your seat feeling. From start to finished, I was gripped, and what stunned me most was the atmosphere created in the play by the cast singing in Latin and the composition of the music itself which was both dark and otherworldly. The strip down feel of the stage and the minimum use of sound and light effects contributed highly to the audience’s ability to fully immerse themselves into a riveting, soul-searching and moral-twisting piece of theatre.
May this play reign for many years to come. Book here
Run dates: 04-19 September