Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.
The drama hinges on a royal prerogative not well known in the U.S.: legislation passed by the House of Commons and the House of Lords cannot become law without the signature of the monarch. While this is considered a formality, the real Prince of Wales is outspoken and has no problem expressing his opinions, which Bartlett sees as potentially leading to a parliamentary crisis.
Director David Muse helps the audience navigate through the channels of power. While the monarch traditionally meets each week with the prime minister, Charles decides he should also hear from the leader of the opposition. When he is told about a proposed law that could limit the freedom of the press, he refuses to be swayed by purely politicalor personalconcerns and is determined to make his own decisions.
The play also follows the rest of the family. Prince William (Christopher McLinden), sleek and self-possessed, wonders what his role will be, while Kate (Allison Jean White) is determined to be her husband's partner. Camilla (Jeanne Paulsen) tries to give Charles the support he needs. Prince Harry (Harry Smith) learns about the world outside the royal bubble with the help of Jessica (Michelle Beck), an art student, and a familiar ghost (Chiara Motley) wanders the halls.
This production has already been seen at San Francisco's American Conservatory Theater and Seattle Repertory Theatre. The cast members are comfortable in their roles and as an ensemble, from Joy's thoughtfulness and caution in wielding power to McLinden's polished veneer and confidence, White's quietly expressed ambition, and Smith's emotional swings.
Shakespeare Theatre Company