Mike Barlett’s Olivier Award winning satirical play, starring Robert Powell, graced Chichester Festival Theatre with it’s presence for one week only – and my goodness am I glad CFT gave me the chance to see it.
King Charles III starts at our current reigning Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral, and what partakes after is a slightly humorous battle between the prestigious Prince of Wales and the public’s favourite royal couple, Kate and William. In this Shakespearean based drama, we see our Royal family fall to pieces over King Charles refusing to sign off on a parliament bill based on regulating the press, simply because he didn’t agree with it. Shocking, I know. We watched the upheaval of a now broken King, and finish with Kate and William’s long awaited coronation.
You’d think with it’s prestigious royal subject, it would be upperclass and deeply historical – but don’t fear, this is definitely not the case. In fact, this was highlighted with Lorde’s recent hit Royals playing as we left.
Robert Powell has a face every household would recognise, but in this unique role, he outshone in a way I haven’t seen him before. Opinionated, stubborn and powerful – Powell captured my imagination right from the start. I still haven’t quite worked out whether I was supposed to be laughing at him or feeling sympathetic for him, but either way his performance was outstanding.Whilst reading up previous to seeing the show, I discovered that Powell and Prince Charles actually know each other socially – Powell being an ambassador for the Prince’s Trust, and both belonging to an exclusive lunch club Saints and Sinners. I can only imagine how daunting that must’ve been!
Another two characters that instantly caught my attention were Prince Harry (Richard Glaves) and Jess (Lucy Phelps). Their young, innocent, and misplaced love had me rooting for them from the moment they met. Phelps’ was excellent as the hipster edgy oh-so-wrong-for-royals young lady, and King Charles’ acceptance of their romance only made it all the more sweet (erm, and odd).
What struck me, and other littered spectators surrounding me, was how alike the actors looked to their real life personas – especially Kate. Type cast to perfection, congratulations Joyce Nettles and your casting team! Another thing that naturally sprung to my attention was the absolutely excellent staging used throughout. Each formation meant something different entirely – it was just inspiring. I left continuing to think ‘hmmmm, I wonder if they’re actually like that?!’
Chichester Festival Theatre was, as always, the perfect venue for this incredible drama. Reasonably priced drinks in the interval always helps too! And there’s no reason for us young’ens to miss out – with the remarkable 16-25 scheme they’re working hard to promote at the moment there really is no excuse. £8.50 per ticket!
I can’t praise this drama enough – it was so damn good that I was honestly struggling to find the words to write this.
Definitely do not miss the next play that comes around, and if you’re looking for a little Christmas spirit, there’s plenty of beautiful seasonal shows on over the next few weeks. However, if you’re desperate to see King Charles III, it’s still making it’s rounds… check out the rest of the tour dates!