Reviews | Written by Ed Fortune 17/08/2022

Ciarán Dowd: King Rodolfo – Edinburgh Fringe

The popularity of shows such as Lord of the Rings and A Game of Thrones has shown that we have a thirst for stories about the corruption and excess of ancient kings.  There’s something about terrible people corrupted by power that resonates with us today. King Rodolfo takes these tropes and firmly mocks the arrogance of kings, whilst giving us all a very good laugh.

King Rodolfo is the sort of sequel to Ciarán Dowd’s Don Rodolfo, a fantasy shaggy-dog story about a ridiculously arrogant swordsman and braggart. You don’t need to know anything about the previous show to enjoy this, the character is established fairly quickly as a ridiculous swashbuckling stereotype. All we really need to know is that Rodolfo is very good with a sword, utterly full of himself, quite dim and also king.

Rodolfo is convinced that his reign is going very well. After all, they’ve always been fantastic and they assume they’re excellent at everything they do.  Given that bluffing and out-right lying about one’s competence is always a good way to run a country, you can imagine that everything is going very well.

They are elements of slapstick to this show; certainly, there’s a level of ridiculous physicality to the whole affair. The supporting cast are excellent and they are some very nice touches to the way the King’s family, friends and assistants are presented.  The show shines at some key-points; Ciarán is the master of the comedy monologue and the audience is quickly drawn into the world of Rodolfo, which makes the various twists and turns that the story enjoys even more delightful.

King Rodolfo is Ciarán Dowd’s tour-de-force and rip-roaringly funny. Recommended.

Ciarán Dowd: King Rodolfo is on at The Pleasance as part of the Edinburgh Fringe until August 28th. You can click here for more information.