Review: THE KING IN YELLOW, The Lion And Unicorn Theatre

By: Aug. 23, 2019
Review: THE KING IN YELLOW, The Lion And Unicorn Theatre Review: THE KING IN YELLOW, The Lion And Unicorn Theatre

The first lethal chamber has just been opened in Washington Square. The novelty shakes the young bohemians who, as they address the corruption of art and soul, become entranced by a mysterious book.

Based on Robert W. Chambers's Victorian collection of short stories, The King in Yellow is a gripping piece of theatre that unfortunately feels too fragmented to reach its goals. Castiagne investigates the effects of the book and the play within, slowly spiraling into his own world of annihilation and enigmas.

Josephine Czarnecki and Darwin Garrett's adaptation leaves much of the background and intrinsic cohesiveness of the anthology out of the staged show, putting any explanations or backstory to the audience to figure out. They, however, manage to imbue it with an eerie atmosphere that's essential to the outcome. The ensemble has a couple of weaker links that don't fulfill its potential, but also sees Zuzana Spacirova standing out as a detailed and well-rounded performer.

A smooth direction that includes evocative movement pieces relating to the tome and its irresistible influence saves the show from falling flat at this stage. It would completely recover it from its issues in unity with the final scene, but the gaps in characterisation are too large for it to hold the weight it should.

Death pervades the production in many forms: the shadow of the lethal chamber is ever present in the mind of the characters, and the destruction of life becomes vivid in Boris's "pool of death" that turns living things into marble-like art. The subjugation to the volume becomes stronger as the episodes unfold, with plenty of (perhaps unintentional here) hints to Dorian Gray and his own Yellow Book.

Overall, the play probably isn't as convincing in its mythology because of its lack of a solid set-up, which makes it feel slightly incomplete, almost as if we were watching snippets of a bigger project. The ground it covers is certainly fascinating and the company is on the right path to turn The King in Yellow in a dark exploration of belief, sanity, and blind trust.

The King in Yellow runs at The Lion and Unicorn Theatre until 25 August as part of Camden Fringe.

BroadwayWorld Awards Voting

RELATED STORIES - UK / West End

1
BroadwayWorld UK / West End Awards December 5th Standings Photo
BroadwayWorld UK / West End Awards December 5th Standings

It's December, and the first standings of the month have been announced as of Tuesday, December 5th for the 2023 BroadwayWorld UK / West End Awards! Don't miss out on making sure that your favorite theatres, stars, and shows get the recognition they deserve!

2
Details Revealed For Upcoming Tours of BLOOD BROTHERS, CALENDAR GIRLS, and More in 2024 Photo
Details Revealed For Upcoming Tours of BLOOD BROTHERS, CALENDAR GIRLS, and More in 2024

Bill Kenwright Ltd has announced their upcoming Spring 2024 touring productions, which include Blood Brothers, Calendar Girls the Musical, Twelve Angry men, and Sleuth. Casting and tour dates have been revealed for all four touring productions. Learn more about the full lineup below!

3
Talawa Stories Radio Dramas Return to BBC Radio 4 For Second Season Photo
Talawa Stories Radio Dramas Return to BBC Radio 4 For Second Season

Following a successful first series in 2021, Talawa Stories is returning to BBC Radio 4 with three fresh, powerful radio dramas in 2024.  The playwrights, plays and directors have been announced, bringing their unique and exciting works to the airwaves, presented by Talawa, the UK’s outstanding Black theatre company. 

4
Little Angel Theatre Reveals New Spring and Summer 2024 Season Photo
Little Angel Theatre Reveals New Spring and Summer 2024 Season

Three brand new productions offer something for all age ranges at Little Angel Theatre. Learn more about the upcoming lineup here!

Videos


TICKET CENTRAL

Recommended For You