“King Charles III” Causes A Stir

The Queen is dead. Charles, paranoid and power obsessed, dissolves Parliament and parks a tank outside Buckingham Palace. While Prince William dithers, his steely and pragmatic wife, Kate, orchestrates a palace coup to save the monarchy and prevent Britain from sliding into civil war. So, says the New York Times, goes the audacious plot of “King Charles III,” a new play by Mike Bartlett and starring Tim Pigott-Smith (pictured) as Charles, which opened in London last week at the Almeida Theater to glowing, scandalized, reviews. The critic for The New Statesman called it the “boldest and most provocative play about the royal family in British theatrical history,” adding, “If the Lord Chamberlain still policed the stage, Bartlett would be in the Tower,” a reference to the royal official who had the power to censor plays until 1968. Bartlett is previously known for his play “Cock,” whose title the New York Times ridiculously refused to print, even as it put “Pussy Riot” in headlines on page one. Not surprising, I guess, since the Times still can’t consistently call Bush-era torture much more than “enhanced interrogation.”

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