Thursday September 21st 2017

“King Charles III”

king-charles-iii-8792Highly Recommended **** Most of America has lived part of its “Royal” life with the lives of the Royal Family. Prince Charles and his romance with the late Princess Diana, his sons and of course the Queen Mother. We have watched these stories on television and in the daily papers as well as on the internet, of course. Now, a play has been written, one in blank verse, that tells us a sort of futuristic “history” speculating about the future of the British Monarchy, after the passing of The Queen Mother, Elizabeth. Anticipation was taking many turns. Would such a story be satirical ? Could it be both comic and touching? The play, written by Mike Bartlett was a hit on The West End and became a Broadway sensation, so it was a sure thing, that Chicago would see a production of this new play.

Being the 30th Anniversary for Chicago Shakespeare Theater, why not do this play on their stage? Since it is a special production, one that deserves a very delicate touch, why not have Gary Griffin handle the direction? If theater audiences could have a wish come true on a stage, this could easily be just that. Griffin has assembled a dynamite cast to bring this new comedy/drama to its stage. Bartlett’s storyline blurs the line between truth and tragedy and brings the lives of these famous people to a new standard, taking them off the pedestal that their country (and ours as well) has placed them on.

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Let’s face it. Charles is just a man and his two sons are the same. They have Royal blood lines to be sure, but in reality they are no different from you or me. In this story, we begin with the funeral of the Queencharles. Prince Charles ( a superb characterization by Robert Bathurst) ascends to the throne. He is asked to handle enforcing the new law restricting freedom of the press, but feels that this is the wrong course of action to take. England is thrown into a crisis and the Parliament panics ordering an overprotective army to ensure the safety of the Royal family. FYI- at his side, is Camilla (Kate Skinner) and we do see a ghost from time to time (Sarah Chalcroft) who somewhat resembles his beloved Diana. His sons are played to perfection by Alec Manley Wilson (as Prince Harry) and Jordan Dean ( William). Amanda Drinkall is awesome in her portrayal of Catherine Duchess of Cambridge. This is the Royal Family and how they might react to events of this magnitude.

Harry does have a romantic interest, who he meets at a party and who somewhat changes his life. Jess is skillfully played by Rae Gray, who many Chicago audience members have watched grow up on our local stages. One of the great features of a CST production is the ensemble members they use to bring their stories to life. This cast features Sean Fortunato (as the Prime Minister), Lawrence Grimm (playing several roles), Jen Johansen, David Lively (always a treat to watch), Grant Niezgodski, Sam Pearson, Jeff Parker, Tyrone Phillips, Megan Storti, Demetrios Troy and another Chicago favorite, Jonathan Weir, who as always does solid work.

CST does their shows with very little in the way of set, as the audience surrounds the stage, but the design by Scott Davis does keep the eye in focus on where Griffin wants us to be. It is the clock that never changes that could be the only negative in an otherwise perfect set. Joel Shier and Philip Rosenberg’s lighting along the sound by Rob Milburn and Michael Bodeen make the visuals and audio pleasing for the audience and the costumes by Mara Blumenfeld are top notch. This is truly “make-believe” and fantasy, but loveable!charles3

“King Charles III” will continue at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre located on Navy Pier thru January with performances as follows:

Thu, Nov 17: 7:30pm
Fri, Nov 18: 7:30pm
Sat, Nov 19: 3:00pm & 8:00pm
Sun, Nov 20: 2:00pm
Tue, Nov 22: 7:30pm
Wed, Nov 23: 1:00pm
Fri, Nov 25: 7:30pm
Sat, Nov 26: 3:00pm & 8:00pm
Sun, Nov 27: 2:00pm & 6:30pm
Wed, Nov 30: 1:00pm & 7:30pm
Thu, Dec 1: 7:30pm
Fri, Dec 2: 7:30pm
Sat, Dec 3: 3:00pm & 8:00pm
Sun, Dec 4: 2:00pm
Tue, Dec 6: 7:30pm
Wed, Dec 7: 1:00pm & 7:30pm
Thu, Dec 8: 7:30pm
Fri, Dec 9: 7:30pm
Sat, Dec 10: 3:00pm & 8:00pm
Wed, Dec 28: 1:00pm & 7:30pm
Thu, Dec 29: 1:00pm & 7:30pm
Fri, Dec 30: 7:30pm
Sat, Dec 31: 3:00pm & 8:00pm
Tue, Jan 3: 7:30pm
Wed, Jan 4: 1:00pm & 7:30pm
Thu, Jan 5: 7:30pm
Fri, Jan 6: 7:30pm
Sat, Jan 7: 3:00pm & 8:00pm
Sun, Jan 8: 2:00pm & 6:30pm
Wed, Jan 11: 7:30pm
Thu, Jan 12: 7:30pm
Fri, Jan 13: 7:30pm
Sat, Jan 14: 3:00pm & 8:00pm
Sun, Jan 15: 2:00pm & 6:30pm
 Discounted parking is available at Navy Pier. Bring your ticket to the theater for validation.

 


 tickets range from : $48-$88

Box Office: 312-595-5600

www.chicagoshakes.com

To see what others are saying, visit www.theatreinchicago.com, go to Review Round-Up and click at “King Charles III”charles9

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