Friday, July 5, 2013

Review: (Toronto) A King's Heart (Fringe)

The Point...Please
by Jessica Yen

If you have bad memories associated with Sunday School at church, DO NOT see this show. A King's Heart is a musical retelling of the life of King David from the Bible. It sounds like a Sunday school lesson and feels like one too. 

Nathan the Prophet acts as the narrator who gives context between scenes and songs. The stage is bare, except for a single projection screen which features backgrounds for each scene, the desert, the palace, and so forth. The Factory Mainstage is a wide stage and offers a great opportunity when bare for interesting physical staging. Unfortunately, in this production the opportunity is lost. Actors wander around the stage without much purpose.

Nigel Thompson plays King David and has a lovely voice and stage presence. I wish that he had been given more direction in order to find more colours in King David. A King's Heart is about the life of an extraordinary man - a lowly shepherd who becomes a King - but in this production we learn very little about who he actually is. We hear over and over again that he is virtuous and faithful, but we never go any deeper than that. With text taken directly from the Bible, this musical fails to illuminate anything new about the story of King David.

If you have little to no Bible knowledge, you would probably be quite lost watching this show. The questions I was left with were, why is this man's life important and what (as an agnostic person) can I learn from it? Why tell Bible stories to non-believers? What makes this story universal? What is it about this character that makes it worth making a play about him?

A King's Heart is at the Toronto Fringe

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