Mike Barlett’s audacious new play King Charles III had its World Premiere at London’s Almeida Theatre in April this year (2014). It transferred to the Wyndham’s Theatre in the West End last week.
Helmed by Almeida’s Artistic Director Rupert Goold, it featured veteran actor Tim Pigott-Smith as Prince Charles who ascends the throne after his mother dies. The play centres on the pressures and purposes of the monarchy today.
It’s the first major play written in blank verse that the West End has seen for a very long time. The playwright wrote in iambic pentameter (the meter used by the Bard when writing verse, having ten syllables in each line – five pairs of alternating unstressed and stressed syllables) because he wanted the play to be a Shakespearean drama; a family epic in five acts, complete with a ghost and a comic subplot.
The smash hit received glowing reviews. The Telegraph states, “attendance is compulsory”. Michael Billington said “Tim Pigott-Smith gives the performance of his distinguished career”. Its original three month booking has been extended already.