Salt Lake magazine

Preview: PTC’s King Charles III

March 20, 2017

In the scarily near future, King Charles the III will ascend to the British throne, steer the country into a constitutional crisis, dissolve parliament, garrison troops at Buckingham Palace and push Great Britain to the brink of Civil War.

And, he’ll do it in iambic pentameter.

This is the plot of the “future history” King Charles III opening this weekend at Pioneer Memorial Theatre. The precognitive and so-very-British play by Mike Bartlett is a challenging piece of modern theater (because iambic pentameter). It promises to be a fascinating exploration of the nature of political power and its limits as well as a walk down memory lane in blank verse as we see shades of former monarchs and courts in Charles and his inner circle as once lionized by Shakespeare himself.

Also there is a ghost.

When the play opened on the London stage in 2014, Brexit was just a twinkle in Nigel Farage’s eye and Donald Trump was just a loudmouth reality television Muppet. (Actually, they both look like Muppets, if only it were true.)

The “constitutional crisis” that King Charles unravels in this speculative play now seems charmingly quaint but in light of current events, the Pioneer Theatre Company production is eerily well-suited to our times. Audiences, will have the additional thrill of squirming in their seats while considering what’s going on in the world outside.

Best to not think too deeply about it, dears.

And with Elizabeth II, who apparently can still ride a horse, in the final act of her life, we will indeed get to see what gawky Prince Charles will do as King, if that’s even a thing in the future. The soothsaying opens Friday, March 24 at Pioneer Memorial Theatre on the University of Utah Campus and runs through April 8.

Tickets and information here.

Jeremy Pugh

Jeremy Pugh is a regular Salt Lake magazine contributor who writes about theater, history, culture, the outdoors and whatever else we ask him to. He’s also the author of 100 Things to Do in Salt Lake City Before You Die, which is a book about, well, duh.

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