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King Charles III (NHB Modern Plays) Paperback – 3 Apr 2014

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Product details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Nick Hern Books (3 April 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848423977
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848423978
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.7 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 366,911 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


It looks like a nifty little joke - a mock-Shakespearean history play, written almost entirely in blank verse, looking ahead to the heir apparent's ascension but it turns out to be much, much more. It turns out to be a takedown of the entire British establishment: monarchy, parliament, aristocracy, armed forces, media. In fact, it turns out to be the best British play since Jez Butterworth's Jerusalem. -- Matt Trueman

The most spectacular, gripping and wickedly entertaining piece of lèse-majesté that British theatre has ever seen... Blessed with wit, clarity and moments of deeper feeling. Outstanding and provocative... There is barely a moment when the fizz goes out of the writing and the narrative keeps springing surprises.... Tremendous. --Telegraph

Bold, brilliant and unstoppably entertaining... all the intrigue and forward momentum of a real history play. The grandeur too... King Charles III makes us care, makes us laugh, and no doubt will make us argue too. Theatre doesn't get much better than this. --The Times

A meaty, hilarious, dizzyingly audacious state of the nation political thriller... Elevates the tawdriness of the Royal soap opera into something sublime and serious... A thrilling working through of ideas about modern Britain. --Time Out

Pitch-perfect... Bracingly provocative and outrageously entertaining. --Financial Times

Brilliantly ambitious... deliciously smart... [the] script is a witty amalgam of Shakespearean rhythms and sharp modern colloquialisms. --Exeunt

About the Author

Mike Bartlett is one of the UK's most exciting and inventive young writers. His original plays have been performed at the National Theatre, the Royal Court, and around the UK, and include Earthquakes in London, 13, My Child, Cock (also in New York) and Love, Love, Love. His latest plays, Bull and An Intervention, are published by NHB. He has written adaptations of Chariots of Fire (Hampstead and West End) and Medea (Headlong), and his drama series The Town was broadcast on ITV1 in 2012.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Oscar Owen on 20 May 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's rare that plays come along that feel sort of special. But Bartlett has written something which does, well, feel sort of very special indeed.

It's special in that, through a plot imagining Charles' ascension leading to his immediate clash with parliament, it's a perfect balance between entertainment, fun and wit while still managing to hit home hard emotionally and support a powerful commentary on the monarchy's position in society today. Bartlett justifiably suggests the power of monarchy in the modern world goes hand in hand with the celebrity, demonstrating this through the world-famous brand of Wills & Kate. As well as this, Bartlett explores the pointless tradition of monarchy in modern politics, showing how little power is really held by the crown even when they try to make a move. And taking Charles as a figure of action in comparison to the Queen's stasis is both bold and shocking, with Charles' public profile generally presented as one of a gentler, more traditional figure.

But, while the commentary on monarchy is strong and interesting, what makes Barlett's writing especially special, and accounts for most of the entertaining wit of the play, is his mock-Shakespearean style. Bartlett uses Shakespeare's language, structure and plots to underline his own points. For instance, Harry's eagerness to leave the royal lifestyle is demonstrated by his language being predominantly prose, unlike his family who speak in blank verse; just as Shakespeare used prose to highlight the commoners and blank verse nobility. The Harry plotline also evokes that of Prince Hal in Henry IV and Barlett uses other plays to clearly demonstrate character, such as Will and Kate steadily mirroring the scheming Macbeths or ghosts haunting characters, like Hamlet.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Taylor on 15 Aug. 2014
Format: Paperback
Bartlett is a genius. I am yet to read one of his plays that isn't thought-provoking, funny and fantastically entertaining. This is an all too believable satire on the succession of the monarchy that, without giving anything away, is filmic in its dialogue. Sadly never got to see the production but see the whole thing play out in my head through the sheer quality of the writing.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A wonderful "what if"--written in the style of Shakespeare's histories. I hope it comes to the U.S. because I'd enjoy seeing it performed.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 2 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
brilliant 16 April 2014
By simon fortin - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A rare achievement indeed, Shakespearean in both tone and scope, resolutely modern; a welcome entry in the neo-Elizabethan age of drama. Ah, those delicious and dangerous words! Bartlett is here. Make room.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The Thoughtful Man Who Would Be King 31 Oct. 2014
By eulah - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Long live Mike Bartlett - what a brilliant bit of writing he's created here. Like many of you who may well never get to see this play staged, I can imagine it. I can revel in the clever scenario and a dark and witty deal it is.
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