REVIEW: King Charles III, Theatre Royal, Newcastle, Until October 3

Robert Powell in King Charles III at Newcastle's Theatre Royal. Picture by Richard Hubert Smith.
Robert Powell in King Charles III at Newcastle's Theatre Royal. Picture by Richard Hubert Smith.
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Royalist or not, a lot of us will have pondered what will happen when Charles takes the throne.

Mike Bartlett’s future history play King Charles III imagines the death of our Queen and the ascent of her son.

Robert Powell and Richard Glaves in King Charles III at Newcastle's Theatre Royal. Picture by Richard Hubert Smith.

Robert Powell and Richard Glaves in King Charles III at Newcastle's Theatre Royal. Picture by Richard Hubert Smith.

I’m not a huge fan of the Royals myself, but found the concept quite intriguing.

The play opens with the Queen’s funeral and sees Charles (Robert Powell) being both comforted and celebrated by his wife Camilla (Penelope Beaumont) who is ecstatic to see him reign at last.

Within a month of becoming King, Charles has clashed with the Prime Minister Mr Evans (Tim Treloar) by refusing to sign a bill that will pass a law to regulate the press.

After that, the country is thrown into turmoil as Charles stands against Parliament.

Parts of it were bold and brave and made me laugh, but in between the comical moments, the plot was slow-moving and failed to keep my attention.

Powell gives a fascinating portrayal of Charles, but I couldn’t quite figure out what was going on with the rest of the characters.

Harry (Richard Glaves) is a real parody of himself, an elusive party boy who wants to distance himself from the Royals, while Kate (Jennifer Bryden) comes across as hard-faced and pushy, the complete opposite to how the public perceives the real-life Duchess of Cambridge.

The portrayal of politicians Mr Evans and opposition leader Mr Stevens (Giles Taylor) seems the most accurate. The general population hold politicians in low esteem, and that’s how the characters come across in this play.

Parts of it were bold and brave and made me laugh, but in between the comical moments, the plot was slow-moving and failed to keep my attention.

Robert Powell in King Charles III at Newcastle's Theatre Royal. Picture by Richard Hubert Smith.

Robert Powell in King Charles III at Newcastle's Theatre Royal. Picture by Richard Hubert Smith.

The drive behind the plot also left me a bit baffled. Charles seemed very set on not wanting the law that would control the press to be passed, but I never understood exactly why he was so against it.

It seemed to me that it was more about doing it because he could and wanting to make it clear he was the Monarch now, rather than because it was something he believed in.

I’m not sure if I was missing something, but this wasn’t one for me. Maybe people who are big fans of the Royal family will enjoy it more.

King Charles III runs at the Theatre Royal until Saturday, October 3. Click here to book tickets.

Robert Powell, Ben Righton and Jennifer Bryden in King Charles III at Newcastle's Theatre Royal. Picture by Richard Hubert Smith.

Robert Powell, Ben Righton and Jennifer Bryden in King Charles III at Newcastle's Theatre Royal. Picture by Richard Hubert Smith.

Twitter: @vickinewmanjp