BWW Review: Pioneer Theatre Company's KING CHARLES III is Fascinating

BWW Review: Pioneer Theatre Company's KING CHARLES III is Fascinating

If you are a fan of Shakespeare or of the British royal family, or even better--both, you will adore the well crafted, fascinating KING CHARLES III at Pioneer Theatre Company.

KING CHARLES III by Mike Bartlett is a drama that is aptly referred to as a "future history play." Taking its cues from Shakespeare in its dramatic structure and conventions, it tells the fictional story of the political and familial complications that surround the royal family following the death of Queen Elizabeth. The play's use of iambic pentameter in modern language is genius; like the royals, it is set apart from the commonplace, yet still accessible.

The acting is superb, with John Hutton as King Charles III leading the way. Especially enjoyable are John Ford-Dunker as Prince Harry and Jess Nahikian as his girlfriend, Jess. Additional standouts include Grant Goodman as William, Samantha Eggers as Catherine, and Monique Fowler as Camilla. Pioneer Theatre Company mainstay Max Robinson does fine work as always as James Reiss, press secretary.

The play is very well cast, with each actor reminiscent of the figure he or she represents without becoming a caricature. Helping with this immensely are the impressive hair and makeup by Amanda French and costuming by Alex Jaeger. Spot on style and character choices combine with elaborate coronation pieces to establish a look that is truly remarkable.

The set by Gary M. English is just as elegant, with imposing marble columns and stone interiors that are used with slight variation to represent many varying locations. The design is decadent and lifelike, and yet at the same time intimate and dreamlike. It is the perfect space for the action to play out.

The fantastic original music by Gregg Coffin, with its mix of stately and rock-infused melodies and orchestrations, is sometimes jarring but always apropos in its reflection of the turbulence depicted in the play.

KING CHARLES III plays through April 8, 2017. For tickets, call the box office at 801-581-6961 or visit

Photo Credit: The cast of King Charles III

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