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The perfect anti-pantomime for festive season

Preview by Paul Nelson

THE Pickled King is a made-up history play about a King's struggle for justice and freedom from his six-foot jar of vinegar.

After a run at the Camden People's Theatre in 2002, John Schwab, of The Reduced Shakespeare Company, invited the presenters, network of stuff, to perform at The Criterion Theatre, Piccadilly.

Huge success in the West End catapulted the show on to a national tour, with performances at the Riverside Studios and a short run at the Pegasus in Oxford.

The production enjoyed packed houses at The Gilded Balloon, in Edinburgh 2003, with much critical acclaim.

Now The Pickled King will be presented at Riverside Studios as the Christmas production, from December 9 to December 30.

The show presents a fictitious kingdom, which has gone to wrack and ruin since King Oliver the Presentable pickled himself in vinegar for the good of his health.

Three-headed cows, upside down trees and a comet the shape of a potato are the norm in this kingdom.

The kingdom is in a state! The future lies with a young grave robber called Simon … if only he could get the blood out from under his nails.

The Pickled King has been devised by network of stuff who, since 1998, have produced accessible, theatrically exciting comic plays.

Their work is original, exhilarating and energetic. The play is full of wonderful coups de theatre!

The Pickled King has evolved to have depth and complexity in its story.

This production is darker, funnier and much more gruesome. Vast arrays of characters are played with fluency, creating extremely funny, but poignant, moments with an economy of style that keeps things clear and simple.

Inspired by historical tales of intrigue and network of stuff's sense of the absurd, The Pickled King is a show full of theatrical magic, energetic characterisation and fanciful plot twists.

With not a sprig of holly in sight, it is the perfect anti-pantomime for the festive Season.

Network of stuff in association with Riverside Studios present The Pickled King at Riverside Studios December 9 to December 20 at Riverside Studios, Crisp Road, Hammersmith, London W6. Tickets 020 8237 1111. (Phone for performance times).

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