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Review of King Chaos at The Tristan Bates Theatre

King ChaosKing Chaos is, without a doubt, the nerdiest piece of theatre I have seen in a long time. And it was hilarious. Filled to the brim with references to video games, Star Wars, and even football, this production is exactly what it is labelled as – a sci-fi comedy. However, possibly the best feature of this show is that, under its light-hearted, comical surface, it is a subtle but perceptive commentary on political manipulation and the dangers of extreme power. It is intelligent and uplifting, touching on intense themes whilst maintaining its playful nature.

An example of this was the part of Gary, played by Adam Joselyn, and his childlike innocence and confusion when facing topics of betrayal and genocide. Thanks to this, his seemingly one-dimensional, idiotic sidekick appeared to be the most intelligent character – the only one with enough integrity to follow what he truly believed in.

All actors – Cliff Chapman, Emma Stirling, Robert Dearn and Adam Joselyn – were strong in their roles, with high levels of energy throughout and natural, humorous interactions. All were able to adapt seamlessly to the drastic personality changes of their respective characters, and showed an excellent sense of comic timing. There was a strong aspect of melodrama in the production, which, although at times bordered on being overly cheesy, added to the humour, and lovingly poked fun at sci-fi.

With a reasonably sized stage surrounded by black walls, it would have been nice to see the production utilise a larger proportion of the space, however scenes with all four cast members made it seem somewhat less barren. Effective use of lighting allowed the simple black room to be transformed into the various settings the characters found themselves in, and the score, containing multiple tracks, supported both the humour within the piece, as well as the overall tone.

With a show largely based on crowd-pleasing, relatable jokes, there is a danger of them being cheap laughs or worn out. King Chaos is not immune to this, however, it also didn’t suffer from it – somewhat predictable jokes were interspersed with bouts of wit that kept the show alive and refreshing. Although this is not the most clean-cut production, it has a good basis and an enthusiastic cast, and I’m certain that there wasn’t anyone who left without laughing at some point during the performance.

3 Star Review

Review by Grace Hans

King Chaos
It’s the future! King Jeffrey, compassion-vacuum and ruler of a evil galactic empire known as ‘the Syndicate’, commands the universe with an iron fist of idiocy and self-obsession. For years the Syndicate have hunted Tyler and Gary, two petty criminals turned freedom fighters. Having discovered their fortune and rallied an army to their cause, they embark on an audacious mission to capture the Syndicate throne and end Jeffrey’s reign of terror and incompetence. They succeed, but… what are they supposed to do now?

Will Tyler and Gary put their differences aside to make the universe a better place, or will their egos make things infinitely, impossibly worse? Just who are the good guys anyway? Power corrupts, and there is only room on the throne for one… You won’t want to miss this fast-paced game of intrigue, cunning & stupidity!

Cliff Chapman as ‘Tyler’
Adam Joselyn as ‘Gary’
Emma Stirling as ‘Sponge’
Robert Dearn as ‘Jeffrey’
Produced by Steve Jordan & Ellen Gallagher for Bad Bat Productions.

Part of Camden Fringe Festival, from Monday 10th August to Saturday 15th August 2015, 7.45pm

Friday 14th August 2015


  • Neil Cheesman

    First becoming involved in an online theatre business in 2005 and launching londontheatre1.com in September 2013. Neil writes reviews and news articles, and has interviewed over 150 actors and actresses from the West End, Broadway, film, television, and theatre. Follow Neil on Twitter @LondonTheatre1

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