Jack Charles V The Crown – Dublin Theatre Festival Review

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Jack Charles V The Crown | Samuel Beckett Theatre | Oct 8 – 12 – Review by Emily Elphinstone

One of the most exciting things about the Dublin Theatre Festival is the opportunity to see international shows that you might not have the pleasure of watching at any other time. This is certainly the case with Jack Charles V The Crown, the autobiographical tale of Jack Charles – Veteran Actor and Activist, former Heroin Addict and Burglar, and subject of award winning 2008 documentary Bastardy.

As one of Australia’s Aboriginal ‘Stolen Generation’, Charles grew up in boys’ homes and foster care, and there’s no doubt that his life has not been an easy one. This may have all the ingredients for heart-wrenching drama, but in fact the overwhelming mood is one of passion and humour. The man himself, who is small of stature and big of beard, works in a relaxed and honest manner whether sitting at his potter’s wheel or stopping for a cup of tea. The way he speaks is honest and colloquial, as if we’re friends sat in his living room.

The story is supported throughout by images and film: clips from his documentary, police reports from his many arrests, and childhood photos. This reminds us how well documented his life has been, though he has often struggled to find a similar record of both his cultural and family history. The brilliant words and images of the show are backed by a jazzy three piece band who provide musical accompaniment, and even the occasional high five; supporting the energy that radiates from Jack Charles himself.

Jack Charles V The State is not a ‘slick’ production, and there are moments where the pace slows or where Charles occasionally pauses to find a line. However, this is part of what makes the show so engaging. It is beautifully staged, and takes the audience on a fascinating and surprisingly heart-warming journey.

Jack Charles V The Crown | Samuel Beckett Theatre | Oct 8 – 12

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