The Faggot King or The Troublesome Reign of Edward II

ensemble theatre · the school of night · Ages 17+ · United States of America

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Review by anonymous

June 20, 2017 stage and cinema
tagged as: misguided

What I liked

Fun well-made costumes. Terrific stage combat, and some inventive direction. The singing was amazing – loved the madrigals.

What I didn't like

Whatever the concept, the acting has to be more than mannered or amateur or shrill (some of the ten actors were nonetheless very good), and the dialogue shouldn’t be difficult for us to process. Many of these actors were simply not up to the task to handle Marlowe’s language.

My overall impression

About halfway through “The Faggot King,” I wondered why women were chosen to play gay men in Christopher Marlowe’s play (subtitled “The Troublesome Reign and Lamentable Death of Edward the Second”). I thought perhaps that something would come of this odd casting choice, but it became apparent that it was simply an idea with no follow-through.

With uneven acting and weird anachronistic behavior (sex a la the movie “Cruising”) up against the pomp and pageantry normally associated with Elizabethan plays, the evening never blended into a satisfying experience. While some may find the casting offensive, I simply found it to be bland. What a shame given the amazing ensemble in last year’s “Punch and Judy” (also directed by Christopher Johnson). Still, I wasn’t upset because of some awesome acting, singing and clever maneuvering of a large cast in such a small space.

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