You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

King Charles III: Dynasty Across the Pond

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 4/11/2015 Regina Weinreich

New to Broadway at The Music Box, the Olivier Award winning King Charles III is simply the play to see this season. Conceived by playwright Mike Bartlett as a future history, the play's conceit is what happens when the queen dies and Charles finally ascends to the throne. "My life has been a lingering for the throne," Charles says, his language echoing Shakespeare, but what ensues is not quite a simple ascension. After all, these are modern times: Are the royals outdated? As in the best of the bard, King Charles III poses a question for all time: what makes for good leadership? And that crown: It's much heavier than anyone thought.
On opening night last Sunday, when the play dazzled everyone with its elegant set, the interior of Buckingham Palace or a raging disco, the question was, would the royal family ever see this take on proper governance? Sally Scott, who wafts through as Diana's ghost said at the Bryant Park Grill afterparty, "We're kind of outside too," noting, "Diana defined the role Kate now plays." Kate (Lydia Wilson), is well, that Kate, the one we all know from magazine covers. But what does she say? How does she sound? This Kate is a character of vaunting ambition, a Lady Macbeth for our era. With all her family and fashion sense, what fascinates is that she could rise to the throne as William's wife, if circumstances play into her machinations, if the queen should die. For this drama, Diana foresees the future: She says to Charles, and then to William, "You'll be the greatest king." (Well, which one is it?)

Diana's second son, Harry, "He's a lost boy" according to Richard Goulding who plays Harry as a punk looking to be an ordinary citizen. A second son, he's not likely to be king, so, he's got nothing to lose when he falls in love with Jess (Tafline Steen), who brings vitality and scandal to the royal house.
Tim Pigott-Smith is simply brilliant as Charles. When asked whether he's ever met the Prince of Wales, he said: "Oh yes, he's charming. I am quite fond of him. I think Charles would make a good king, if he ever got the chance. The queen is 86 now, and might live another 20 years." When they met, was he already playing Charles? "No, I don't think he'd be happy to talk to me."
It's startling when the expression "shock and awe" intrudes on the play's iambic pentameter. Or in the words of Mel Brooks, our American bard of comedy: "It's good to be king!"
A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central.

More from Huffington Post

The Huffington Post
The Huffington Post
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon