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Monday, November 20, 2023



(Above and below: Cara Roberts. Pics supplied)

 “The King of Broken Things” is deserving of every local and international award it has won and I am sure there are many more to come. (Review by Romi Schumann)


Nestling in the campus of Northlands Primary School is The Bridge Theatre - a theatre space that has been transformed into the treasure trove of a boy who is the King of Broken Things. Michael Taylor-Broderick’s international award-winning one-man play mesmerises for an hour leaving us with a sense of hope and the idea that every man, woman, and child should see this play. 

The boy, skilfully and endearingly played by Cara Roberts, draws the audience in from the beginning with a dramatic entrance; from then, the actress holds us in the palm of her hand. Her well-crafted and nuanced portrayal has us believing that a mature (albeit petite) woman is a young boy, and one that everyone grows to love.

The playwright has wisely identified what the world needs to hear and he touches on the child’s pain of an absent father, the responsibility he feels for fixing his mother, bullying, the weight and magic of words and imagination. To use the word ‘recycling’ is too mundane and the miracle of fixing and reusing broken things seems all too exciting in this theatrical offering.

I first saw The King Of Broken Things a few years ago when it premiered at the Hilton Arts Festival. The organic evolution of the play and portrayal of the character is subtle but significant. Today, the issue of children on the autism spectrum is highly relevant and people who ‘don’t do people’ are being recognised more and more. The lack of understanding by children and adults alike is hurtful, and although a change in attitude is happening, this play could help it snowball. For all the seriousness of the topics, I found myself smiling and filled with delight at what I was seeing and hearing, so positive and uplifting.

Not only is Taylor-Broderick a writing genius but his vast experience as a lighting designer and theatre technical man has been brought into play and we are astonished even further. The ‘Boy’ shares his creations with us and Roberts handles this technical part of her portrayal effortlessly. Taylor-Broderick and Roberts have gifted the world with a message of hope and shown us the light at the end of the tunnel with the most exquisite, moving ending that there has ever been for any play.

As an educator and theatre person myself, I would highly recommend that schools offer this astounding piece of theatre to their learners (both prep and high school). They would have a valuable entertaining/educational theatrical experience, be moved by the story, and each take their own lesson to heart.

There is so much offered in an hour, but it is perfect. This short run is over, but keep your ear to the ground, there will be other performances. When you see the play, and you must, watch and listen well - You don't want to miss any of it. The King of Broken Things is deserving of every local and international award it has won and I am sure there are many more to come. - Romi Schumann

For more information contact Bryan Hiles on 082 393 4890.