Knights of the Rose
The Arts Theatre, London
Seen July 5th, 2018
Reviewed by Jade Prince
I was really rooting for this show to be much more. Having seen this talented cast perform on numerous occasions and sounds epic each time, I had high hopes. Unfortunately, the music and vocals couldn’t carry the show alone.
Knights of the Rose is meant to be an epic Shakespearean tale of love, betrayal and sacrifice but a lot of this seemed under developed. The rock score was what made the show unique and exciting with music from Bon Jovi, Meat Loaf and Bonnie Tyler to name a few.
I do want to take a moment to appreciate the cast. Wow! These guys were great! Their voices were incredible! Pretty much every number sounded brilliant!
This biggest let down for me was the fact the show didn’t know what it was. It was right in the middle of being a serious Shakespearean play and a cliche rock playlist put to a story. The songs were used very literally throughout the show and several had the audience laughing within the first bar. A reaction along the line of “Oh my God, are they really using this song!”. I mean, with the literal use, the songs worked very well.
I felt that a lot fo the characters were under developed. One moment the princesses were madly in love, the next, not interested. And then through a drastic change in circumstance, about to marry a man you had know idea they were interested in!
The staging was rather nice. Two levels and sections which moved in order to show the scene changes from the castle, to the bar, to the battle field. One scene that really sticks in my mind was the battle scene in act 2 with the horses. I want to say it was the number “The War To Win”. This was a pretty spectacular scene! The horse head puppets were beautiful and the use of the mesh screen down stage was stunning. You really felt like you were in the heart of the battle with the pouring rain.
I have to say the writing really made you root for certain characters. At one point you wanted the so call ‘villain’ to be killed by the man he betrayed and just when you think it could happen, your hopes were crushed! It was nice to see that aspect wasn’t predictable.
I really need to take a moment to point out a flaw which I couldn’t stop noticing. The shoes. Oh, the shoes. The male shoes were fine but the female shoes were a no, no. They were modern high street shoes. It was as if they were going to get off stage, rip their historical dresses off and hit the town! They were definitely not in-keeping with the time period.
I think if it was developed more into a lighthearted Shakespeare rock musical it could enjoy great success. Or maybe it is there already? It is just needing some way to convey this to the audience.
Overall, this was an enjoyable show. I would recommend it but don’t go in there expecting anything flash. The music and vocal performance was really what made the show for me.
Knights of the Rose is playing at The Arts Theatre until Sunday 26th August.
Information on the show and tickets can be found at: http://knightsoftherose.co.uk
Also don’t forget to follow Knights of the Rose of twitter.
If you are still intrigued, we got to still down briefly with Katie Birtill and Rebekah Lowings at the press call. Check out the short interview here.