Three Kingdoms

Simon Stephens

Three Kingdoms

A woman's head is washed up on the banks of the Thames in Hammersmith. Two British detectives set off on the trail of her killers. While crossing borders and language barriers they enter a nightmarish world that will change one of them forever. 2.7 out of 5 based on 9 reviews
Three Kingdoms

Omniscore:

Location London
Venue Lyric Hammersmith
Director Sebastian Nübling
Cast Risto Kübar, Lasse Myhr, Mirtel Pohla, Jaak Prints, Gert Raudsep, Ferdy Roberts, Steven Scharf, Rupert Simonian, Çigdem Teke, Nicolas Tennant, Tambet Tuisk, Sergo Vares Rasmus Kaljujärv
From May 2012
Until May 2012
Box Office 0871 221 1726
 

A woman's head is washed up on the banks of the Thames in Hammersmith. Two British detectives set off on the trail of her killers. While crossing borders and language barriers they enter a nightmarish world that will change one of them forever.

Reviews

Time Out

Andrzej Lukowski

Rather than a gritty interrogation of the daily realities of the vice industry, Stephens and Nübling offer up a cautionary fable of globalism: the sex trade is presented clinically here as an inevitable result of capitalism; it exists simply because there is a market for it. Hammered home by a pithy speech in the second half, this is one of the clearer arguments in a sprawling play. There are multiple themes: insecure male sexuality; the disorientation of travel in a world denatured by globalisation. But this show is certainly not one for fans of a simple message or linear plotting.

09/05/2012

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The Sunday Times

Maxie Szakwinska

Okay, the story’s outlandish dream logic becomes less compelling as the evening goes on, and the ending is a cop-out. For the most part, though, this trap door into the derangement beneath seeming normality works just wonderfully.

13/05/2012

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The Evening Standard

Henry Hitchings

Elements of Three Kingdoms feel visionary. There’s a stunning theatricality in Nübling’s interpretation, which largely dispenses with the idea of elucidating meaning, preferring instead to create a montage of nightmarish images and intriguing textures. It’s the kind of thing aficionados of non-naturalistic theatre will cross continents to devour. But the symbolism becomes overwrought ... The results are disorientating — sometimes in a good way, sometimes not.

09/05/2012

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The Observer

Tom Lamont

A pimp delivers testimony while standing on his head. A Puck-ish figure in white drifts about murmuring Europop, while a German cop sings Rocky Raccoon (with actions). When an interviewee appears wearing a stuffed animal head, Stone and Lee gape. It is the last time they register surprise. They're soon inured to the spiralling oddities of this investigation, as are we.

13/05/2012

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The Stage

Aleks Sierz

Visually, some moments are stunning: the prostitutes wear deer heads and a sinister gang wears wolf masks. At its worst, much of the rest is overblown and overwrought, with the story drowned in a bucket of self-indulgence ... Designed by Ene-Liis Semper, the production feels much too long and self-indulgent, despite some moments of savage feeling and poetic bliss, whose delights are chiefly due to Stephens’s text.

09/05/2012

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The Daily Telegraph

Dominic Cavendish

A major gripe is that the production, which requires surtitles at times, takes achingly long to make a point – look to yourselves – that could be more swiftly put. Also, the artists court charges of trivialising the issue by letting machismo and swagger steal the limelight from criminally insubstantial female characters. Yet the potent physicality and invention is undeniably arresting – the way, for instance, the hand of a mortuary–slab corpse twitches into life or a woman springs bullet–fast from a suitcase. An inconsolable mood of dread, abandon, violence and suspicion lurks beneath the show's skin of arty insouciance, and at times the script attains a lyrical pitch of accusation against the West that quite overrides the flippancy.

10/05/2012

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The Guardian

Michael Billington

The plot is made harder to follow by Nübling's grossly self-advertising production, in which everything is overstated and overheated. No one exits through a door if they can possibly leap through a window. The walls of Ene-Liis Semper's set are pummelled and beaten as if they were a punchbag. Actors in mid-sentence suddenly bark and go brick-red with violence. It's as if the more manic moments in Fawlty Towers had been choreographed by Pina Bausch. Nübling creates some startling images with figures in fox-masks, and besuited sex traders sporting boxing gloves, but his production is always trying to tell us how idiosyncratically clever it is.

09/05/2012

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The Times

Dominic Maxwell

If you’re going to harness the spirit of David Lynch, it’s oddly over-literal to use a song so associated with his work (Wicked Game by Chris Isaak). What’s more, since the set pieces come to rule, the visceral misogyny in the vice scenes leaves a nasty taste. It just looks like another effect rather than something being dealt with or commented on. It feels gratuitous. Stephens is a fascinating writer. But Nubling’s production is an adventurous misfire that gives us too much Oz, not enough Kansas.

09/05/2012

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The Daily Mail

Quentin Letts

This show is magnificently bad, laughably awful, a real honking turkey (if turkeys honk). Even more perfect, it has been made with the financial support not only of us taxpayers in England but also of that European Capital of Culture wheeze. To manage that at a time of financial crisis elevates this to high art of the mickey-taking variety. And we complain that our politicians are out of touch!

10/05/2012

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