King Charles III, playing at the Pasadena Playhouse, is a fictionalized play written by British playwright Mike Bartlett. Unusual in its text for today’s style, Bartlett used both blank verse and prose, as did Shakespeare in his day, to tell a story about future events in the lives of the British Monarchy.
The play opens with pomp and circumstance at the funeral of Queen Elizabeth. Prince Charles (Jim Abele), who has waited zealously, is now the reigning monarch. The British Prime Minister (J. Paul Boehmer) brings him a bill that he must sign, as all others before him have done. Royalty in Britain is strictly ceremonial, having nothing to do with the laws of the country, but nevertheless, Charles is opposed to the bill and refuses to sign it. His refusal creates a serious predicament in England, since his coronation cannot take place unless he agrees to do so.
The status of the situation Charles has created, now puts the country in a panic, as well as the entire royal family that includes Camilla (Laura Gardner), William (Adam Haas Hunter), beloved Catherine (Meghan Andrews), or Kate as she is called, and Harry (Dylan Saunders). However, Harry (Dylan Saunders) has less concern about the family troubles, especially after he meets Jess (Sarah Holllis), a rather salacious art student.
William is on his father’s side from the beginning; Harry is completely unconcerned. But, it is Kate who makes William see it all in a different light. Without the country accepting Charles as king, what will happen to his descendants? William is suddenly made aware of his entire family’s situation. Pomp and circumstances once again prevail in the coronation of a King and Queen of England!
Each actor gives an outstanding performance of their character, sometimes a bit difficult to understand however, due to their perfect British accents. Since the play is fictional, we do not really know if this is how each of them would react to their situation, but suffice it to say, it makes for an interesting perspective. The production, directed by Michael Michetti, is outstanding. The scenic design by David Meyer is exceptional in its beauty and effectiveness.
King Charles III plays Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays at 8 PM, Saturdays at 2 PM and 8 PM, and Sundays at 2 PM and 7 PM. There will be a Tuesdays night performance November 28 at 8 PM. The Pasadena Playhouse is located at 39 South El Molina Ave., Pasadena. Tickets are available online at PasadenaPlayhouse.org, by phone at (626) 356-7529, or in person t the Playhouse Box Office.