The heaters aren’t working, the sun won’t rise, the throne room’s filthy and there’s a great big crack opening up in the wall. Queen Marguerite is making preparations for the inevitable, but Queen Marie refuses to accept it’s time. Yet the signs are unmistakeable: the King is dying. And he’s not going to go gracefully.
Eugene Ionesco’s great absurdist comedy kicks off in a burst of gorgeous theatrical play. Existential sadness is in full bloom here, and it goes head to head with the ridiculous pleasure of being alive. This King’s fight against decline is a tooth-and-nail, hair-tearing scramble for more life. And whatever it is that’s sucking the life from him is also closing down the whole planet. This is comic relief of life-and-death proportions.
Neil Armfield and Geoffrey Rush renewed their vows in this civil ceremony on the Belvoir stage, and were joined by an extraordinary bunch of clowns: Bille Brown, Julie Forsyth and Gillian Jones.
By Eugene Ionesco
Translators Neil Armfield & Geoffrey Rush
Director Neil Armfield
Set & Costume Designer Dale Ferguson
Lighting Designer Damien Cooper
Composer John Rodgers
Sound Designer Russell Goldsmith
Assistant Director Matthew Emond
Star power aside, [Rush’s] performance is a master class in vocal control, facial expression, gesture and physical comedy. Every moment is alive with possibility, intricately organised and never predictable.The Sun Herald
Talk about a Rush… [Exit The King] crackled with life and death on opening night.The Daily Telegraph
Rush’s…superlative performance lives up to expectations.Sunday Telegraph