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DUBLIN THEATRE FESTIVAL: The Young King – The Ark, Dublin

Writer: Oscar Wilde

Adaption: Nicki Bloom 

Director: Andy Packer

Reviewer: Ciara L. Murphy

Australian theatre company Slingsby breathe new life into Oscar Wilde’s The Young Kingin an enticing and charming production.

When a young boy, raised by an old goat herder in the forest, learns that he is the heir to his kingdom’s throne, his life changes at once. Thrown into a world of riches and servants, he must come face to face with the reality of his new life. He learns that everything has a price, and often a very human cost.

Wilde’s charming and progressive tale adapts well to its staging. The performance begins with a promenade style jaunt around the venue. This works well for the most part, however at times there is too much ‘down time’ between tasks and this breaks the spell.

Once in the theatre the audience (of children and their adults) are in a world full of whimsy. The set, designed by Wendy Todd is fantastic. A true treasure trove of skill and exposition. The onstage cast (Tim Overton and Jacqy Phillips with live music performed by Quincy Grant) are skilled and charming and enthrall their young audience.

The production is billed at a run time of 80 minutes, but in reality, runs about 10-15 minutes beyond this. This is slightly too long and attention spans begin to wane around the 70 minute mark. However, despite the occasional break in verisimilitude the piece remains true to its premise, providing a fantastical and charming day at the theatre.

Runs until 14 October 2018 | Image: Andy Ellis

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