“Corruptible Crown”: I review “King Charles III”

at First Things:

The most reactionary thing about King Charles III, the modern Shakespeare pastiche playing through March 18 at the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, DC, is that nobody kneels to the king.

Charles, written by Mike Bartlett and directed by David Muse, takes place in the near future, between the obsequies for Queen Elizabeth II and the coronation of her successor. Bartlett imagines a Prince of Wales who has been unwittingly training himself for dictatorial self-assertion. His conscience—and perhaps also his resentment of the long years waiting for the throne—propels him into a conflict with Parliament over a bill to restrict the tabloid news. No side escapes morally unscathed from the spiral of escalating norm-violations that ensues, and by the play’s climax the British government seems on the verge of collapse.

more (MAJOR KNEELING-RELATED SPOILERS)


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