Saturday, March 31, 2018

Ambitious “King Charles III” Premieres At Coronado Playhouse


Seriously ambitious, wonderfully delicious “King Charles III” finally makes it to the throne in Mike Bartlett’s new play of the same name now in a premiere production at the Coronado Playhouse just across the bridge through April 22nd.
Richard Rivera as King Charles III
With a contemplative Richard Rivera, looking amazingly like the now Prince, and under Tyler Richards Hewes direction, lots of what if’s and sound alike names pop up in this parliamentarian battle that resembles the war (not quite of the Roses) on the press happening in our own country today. But it’s decidedly a Royal battle loaded with intrigue and family maneuvering including Charles’ threat to dissolve Parliament if he doesn't get his way. 

Finally!  Prince Charles is ready to step into his Mother The Queen’s shoes upon her death. He’s waited patiently so much so that inquiring minds thought the throne might just skip a generation and go to his son William? That wasn’t/isn’t such a far-fetched idea after all.
Sandy Hotchkiss and Richard Rivera
All seems well at the palace since Charles is in charge. So far the one caveat is that Charles has his own ideas and they are independent of Parliament, unlike the ‘make nice’ doings of the late Queen.

But things turn on a dime when something looks ‘rotten’ or contrary to past behaviors in the Palace.  No one at the court or in the government is happy with the way Charles seems to be conducting business. He has ideas contrary to Parliament’s.

It’s all about power, ambition, and the royal or not pecking order. This ‘future history play’ was nominated for Tony Award in 2014 but I dare say it did not bode well with the Royals of today and understandably so.

Just as an update (as if we don’t already know), the Queen is still alive and making appearances. Playboy Harry is engaged to be married to Meghan Markle and Kate is expecting her third. It’s almost difficult to keep those current facts in mind watching the two-hour plus play that Bartlett and Co. are putting before us.
Andrew Walters and Julia Giolzetti
Let’s just say that there is a rolling conspiracy that is the best -known secret except to Charles. With no one save Camilla on his side of the throne Charles unaware of the dust he is stirring up, goes about his business as usual while questioning his own authority.

Charles refuses to rubber stamp the bill, going against his limited duties and taking a stand not to limit the press even though it was the paparazzi that in effect, caused Diana’s death, a point that was emphasized to him in the prevailing arguments. 

Backing it up a bit in this fantasy idea, written in iambic pentameter, of Bartlett’s, Camilla (Sandy Hotchkiss in a thankless role) is in full support of her husband, the now King, and staunchly backs him in his decisions (The people want a king who stands up for his own convictions.) but is outmaneuvered by both William (Andrew Walters) somewhat of a procrastinator himself, the Prime Minister and Kate.
Travis Rynders and Alyssa Salter
Harry (Travis Rynders) wants out of all his royal duties and is still the court (jester) rebel. His rebelliousness continues up to and including the time he meets up with a commoner and art student, Jess (Alyssa Salter) and brings her ‘round to the Palace to meet the family. That didn’t go over too well as there was a salacious scandal hidden in her background that would, soon enough, be revealed.

It just gets better.

Kate (a commanding Julia Giolzetti) or Catherine Duchess of Cambridge has the balls in the family as she and William Duke of Cambridge, undermine Williams’ father, the now King. The plot thickens behind the scenes and like it or not, William sees that his wife’s arguments are valid and goes along with the plan to overthrow him.

The ghost of Diana (Sara Jane Nash) haunts the palace grounds and for that matter William and Kate. The Prime Minister, Mr. Evans, (Christopher Pittman) is in cahoots with William and Kate who try to convince the King to sign the bill limiting the press.

The Leader of the Opposition Party, Ms. Stevens ( a convincing Liza Wismer) is in cahoots with William and Mr. Evens, depending on whose side will help her party the most. She later will become another willing participant in the coup.
Christopher Pittman and Liza Wismer
It’s all a very delicious and most scrumptious smorgasbord of intrigue and ideas. In director Tyler Richard Hewes hands it sails along at a nice pace (although it is a tad long) oft times leaving the audience to second guess the playwright and determine who will end up on the throne in the end, begging the question, ‘Why are American’s so fixated on British Royalty?’

Bartlett’s play captivates on its own but is enhanced by a strong acting ensemble and a convincing Rivera. The believable plot, even though a fantasy, still intrigues. Would that another leader on the world stage were that challenged

Congratulations to the entire cast of over 18 or so and crew of designers (set, Jacob Sampson, lighting, Chad Oakley, Steve Murdock’s, sound design with pieces from Bach Mass in B Minor, Handel Largo, Westminster Abby Organ Music, Bach Cantata 147, and Vivaldi Oratorio in 2 parts to name a few.

See you at the theatre.

Dates: Through April 22nd.
Organization: Coronado Playhouse
Phone: 619-435-4856
Production Type: Comedy/Drama
Where: 1835 Strand Way, Coronado, CA 92118
Ticket Prices: $20.00-$27.00
Web: coronadoplayhouse.com
Photo: Ken Jacques


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