Adelaide Festival

Festival Review: The Young King

This is one of those shows where you can safely say “there’s nothing quite like it around.”

Presented by Slingsby
Reviewed 28 February 2016

You better put on your best airs and graces for the Young King’s coronation day! No rabble-rousers or peasants, please!

In all seriousness though, The Young King is a show for everyone, from the gruffest forest dweller to the most industrious denizen of the south. This court is open for all.

This is one of those shows where you can safely say “there’s nothing quite like it around.” Instead of putting on a traditional performance, the team directed by Andy Packer created a totally interactive experience for the Festival, full of all the whimsy and wonder of a fairy-tale royal court. Even the line-up to enter the show space is turned into an entertaining little adventure, with patrons (turned courtly visitors) being asked to follow flustered servants up through dark corridors full of secrets.

After you’re taken upstairs into the Myer Centre’s “Dazzeland”, you are told which kingdom you represent, given chocolates and asked to make your own crown out of coloured paper! The coronation gifts are then handed around in “pass-the-parcel” fashion before the Young King begins to dream and the events of the play unfold.

It goes without saying that The Young King will be an absolute blast for the kiddies. It’s an inventive and inclusive show that gets everyone involved in some way. It’s a really heartwarming feeling to look around a crowd and see everyone smiling and in their own worlds of wonder.

At the same time though, it’s not at all “childish”. Sure, you might get more out of it if you’re at least young at heart, but The Young King is also packed with some pretty deep and meaningful contemporary themes. Adults will be able to guess pretty quickly what the moral of the tale is, but it’s still an important one for the kids of today to learn.

Tim Overton as the Young King himself is great in his role, just the sort of boyish character who you’d picture on the throne. Jacqy Phillips as his advisor, the Old King and the various other medieval personages, is similarly brilliant, able to bring to the play a sense of seriousness and intrigue.

The musical accompaniment, by Quincy Grant, sets the tone for the dreamy adventure. It’s typical fare, but fantastic all the same.

The Young King gets really creative with its use of props and lighting. With a torch and a handful of confetti, the actors paint a desolate snowy scene; with magnets and red food dye, they tell the tragic tale of a diver worked to death.

The Young King’s magic is barely contained within the walls of Dazzeland, seeping out into the normal world. It’s the type of play that will, no doubt, stick with you for a long, long time and, maybe, become the sort of bed-time story we tell the kids of the future.

Reviewed by James Rudd
Twitter: @james_wrr

Venue: Dazzeland, Level 5 Myer Centre, Rundle Mall (Enter from the Ground Floor)
Season:  27 Feb – 13 Mar
Duration: 1 hours 10 minutes, plus pre-show entertainment
Tickets: $22-$99
Bookings: Book through the Adelaide Festival online or through BASS online, phone 131 246 (booking fees apply)



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