Three Kings

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by Stephen Beresford 

When Patrick is eight years old, his absent father returns unexpectedly for a brief but memorable encounter.

Years later – recalling that meeting, and the revelations that followed – Patrick traces the events of his father’s life, laying bare a journey of grandiose plans, aching disappointments and audacious self-delusion.

Three Kings by Stephen Beresford is a heartbreaking and hilarious play for a solo actor about fathers and sons, the gifts and burdens of inheritance, and the unfathomable puzzle of human relationships.

It was written for Andrew Scott to perform as part of Old Vic: In Camera, a series of live performances streamed from the Old Vic Theatre, London, in 2020. This edition includes an introduction by the director Matthew Warchus.



A superb new monologue - short, sharp, unsettling... Though easy and colloquial the writing has the intensity of a Greek drama, suggesting how damage ricochets down generations. And in its rich mix of light and shade it's almost like a male correlative to Fleabag, winding towards an image of someone forsaken, kneeling and seeking absolution. --Telegraph

A beautifully constructed story... An unusually quiet play in these noisy times, Three Kings is an elegy broken by moments of sharp humour... Stephen Beresford's skillful monologue is a measured and meticulously crafted tale of fathers and sons that shows us the forces that ricochet down the generations. --Guardian

An intimate character study, teeming with vivid descriptions... Beautifully crafted moments of fury, partly masked by biting humour and studied nonchalance, of raw pain and of physical comedy... Beresford's incisive script constantly shows the agonising gulf between expectation and reality. --The Arts Desk

Like John Le Carré's books about his own conman father: Beresford's play captures the same mixture of longing and despair, the constant flickering hope that things will be different, the crushing realisation of disappointment. His writing is precise and fluent, catching each mood as it swims swiftly by. The coins of the title become a metaphor for the relationships depicted, each affecting the other; the play's plea for forgiveness, for freedom from that generational suffering is acute and profound. --WhatsOnStage  

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