Friday, 2 October 2015
KING CHARLES 3
Saw Mike Bartlett’s tremendous play King Charles 3 last night at the Theatre Royal. I heard the Radio 3 production a few weeks ago with Tim Piggot-Smith giving, ‘the performance of his life’ and really, I assumed it couldn’t be improved but there is nothing like live theatre, there on stage in front of you and the whole thing was superb. Plus, we had excellent seats right at the front of the Grand Circle.
It is all in iambic verse and draws from time to time on Shakespearean tragedy: the Telegraph alludes to Macbeth, presumably referring to Camilla but I felt it was rather more nuanced than that. Not the least great thing about it is in fact that it is a tragedy: Charles may well be a great King, given the chance. But in all likelihood, he will not be given the chance. He is a terrific subject for a meaningful, rounded play like this; Mike Bartlett told the Guardian that it took him four years to write it.
Bartlett is the man-of-the-moment. He has a series on television just now called Dr Foster, all about a wife being cheated upon which is pretty excellent with many similar reveals and reversals as King Charles 3. Good luck to him.