King by Pat Kinevane | Stage | Stage & Screen Reviews

By Kathy Knight

King by Pat Kinevane

Linenhall Arts Centre, Castlebar February 21, 2024

Kinevane is King! Martin Luther King, Elvis the King but above all Kinevane is King of his stage. This is physical theatre at its very best. In just 80 minutes Kinevane takes the audience on a roller coaster ride exploring mental illness, dealing with prejudice and navigating loneliness. The set is a suitably royal riot of purple and reds in stark contrast to the monochrome sets of Kinevane’s previous production ‘Before’ yet it is the physicality that brings the most vibrant colour.

Kinevane masterfully morphs into a couple dancing a tango and it is so believable. He bravely travels through the audience, washes floors, boils kettles, irons clothes and wisely eats while taking medication. It is as if we are spying on Luther’s inner world. Deftly he tackles the issues of the day through the eyes of his childhood self, grandmother and the newly married couple he has befriended whose phone calls give us a reminder of the outside world.

One quibble might be the use of such strong language – the wit is such that the banter deserves a laugh without it. Maybe my quibble is more with general banter of today than the world this play reflects.

The superlatives applied to this play from around the world are thoroughly justified – Sydney Morning Herald called it ‘mesmerising’, New York Times ‘extraordinary’ and the Guardian ‘dazzling’. I concur with the Irish Times – ‘just brilliant’. #Fishamble KING

#Fishamble KING

@ Kathy Knight 2024

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