Mad world! mad kings! mad composition! First Night Review of Alex in King John

The photo was taken Outside the Temple Church in the interval

We entered the beautiful Temple Church walking by monks singing and chanting. It was an electrifying start to what was a brilliant production. The seats were at either side of a traverse stage that ran through the church. At the end was a golden throne used to effect to show the different claims to the throne through the play.  The church was lit by candles, and as the dark drew in the light changed in the church. Overall the whole visit  was just an extraordinary  experience in such a beautiful setting.

Alex enters in a scene where there’s a dispute between the bastard and his brother (Ciaran Owens) over land. Actually if you look carefully you can see Alex earlier dressed as a monk. Anyway, it is established that the Bastard is the son of Richard the Lionheart and he joins up with the royal party.

Alex is sensational as the Bastard. He’s impish, devilish, and furious at points through the play. From the start it is clear to see the Bastard’s antagonism towards Austria (Giles Terera), who was known to have killed the Bastard’s father, Richard.

The Bastard is a key part in the play, and acts as a narrator.  Alex was very effective at turning to the audience and making us feel he was letting us into a secret. The Bastard is both the voice of reason, and temptation. Alex has the ability to really engage with the character. He’s also got the line that the whole production seems to be focused on.

Mad world! mad kings! mad composition! 

Alex is such a versatile actor and is able to play so many parts. Being able to play both king and the bastard is a great achievement.

As well as Alex there’s a strong cast.  Barbara Marten and Tanya Moodie as Eleanor and Constance are particularly strong, as is Jo Stone-Fewings as John.  The church is also a star!

Of course this production was so different from the 2012 production. It  is set in a medieval setting and there is certainly no death dance to Frankie Valli’s Beggin- an unforgettable amazing performative moment.  However, the wedding is on stage, the interval falls in the same place, and there are lots of fantastic music.

Interesting fact – Ciaran Owens who plays the Dauphin was in the Swan Company in 2013,  at the same time as Alex was in the RST company playing Orlando, Horatio and Bertram. 

The tour has begun. Watch this space for updates.

Cast

Laurence Belcher

Arthur 

Simon Coates
King Philip 

Aruhan Galieva
Blanche of Castile 

Joseph Marcell
Cardinal Pandulph 

Barbara Marten
Eleanor of Aquitaine

Mark Meadows
Hubert

Tanya Moodie
Constance 

Ciaran Owens
Louis the Dauphin

Daniel Rabin
Salisbury 

Jo Stone-Fewings
King John 

Giles Terera
Austria 

Alex Waldmann
The Bastard  

King Philip 

Aruhan Galieva
Blanche of Castile 

Joseph Marcell
Cardinal Pandulph 

Barbara Marten
Eleanor of Aquitaine

Mark Meadows
Hubert

Tanya Moodie
Constance 

Ciaran Owens
Louis the Dauphin

Daniel Rabin
Salisbury 

Jo Stone-Fewings
King John 

Giles Terera
Austria 

Alex Waldmann
The Bastard  

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