Seen Any Good Plays Recently?

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Re: Seen Any Good Plays Recently?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Fri May 19, 2017 7:44 pm

Tried BBC and Mike Bartlett's adaptation of his play King Charles III. Premise: The Queen is dead and Charles (the late Tim Pigott-Smith) is now the monarch of Great Britain. When Prime Minister (Adam James) wants to enact strong press regulation, the new King refuses to give his assent, plunging the country into a constitutional crises.

This got attention as the Mail and a few Tory MP's demanded the BBC heads be burnt at the stake for heresy. Was there reason for the reaction? Not that I can see from the 40 minutes or so I gave it. If your opposed to the idea of fiction showing what happens after the current monarch is dead then not for you (also don't do House of Cards UK season 2) but hardly heresy. Like any fictional thing based on real people, the portrayal of people isn't 100% accurate with some people have personalities completely changed for story purposes (Charlotte Riley's Kate Middleton bears no resemblance to the actual person bar being the right gender). Where I had disquiet was having Diana (Katie Brayben) as a ghost (did feel like intruding on private grief there) and one scene
basically Mike Bartlett decided the Queen shares his values.

It felt like it gladly did TV and used it for sets, which led to lovely palace sets but also some really poor ones like the badly fake 10 Downing Street, but didn't adapt the play for it. Using dialogue to say what your doing makes sense in a play where the audience might struggle to see but in a TV production where the camera is zoomed in? Feels clunky. Cast is pretty good and do tend to look like the people they are meant to be playing. Dialogue is mixed, Charles Shakespearean monologues can work very well but I do wonder if it might have been better if other characters spoke in a more casual fashion and there are some extreme clunkers. Bartlett clearly has a political side and it really comes across in the play, particularly with Harry (Richard Goulding) and Jess (Tamara Lawrance) where the values of the writer beats you over the head. Which is a pity becuase, once you get past a quite offensive introduction by Jess that should have seen her barred from Harry's presence, there is the basis of a good idea wit Harry's storyline
the prince with no purpose, not sure what to do with his life.

There are themes that if done right, could make a great play like the constitutional crises if a monarch refused to sign the law for example but by the time I left, it just had been feeling empty, that it hadn't turned the idea's into strong substance.
“You, are a rebellious son who abandoned his father. You are a cruel brigand who murdered his lord. How can Heaven and Earth put up with you for long? And unless you die soon, how can you face the sight of men?”
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Dong Zhou
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Location: "Now we must die. May Your Majesty maintain yourself"


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