A new play, ‘The Great Pretenders’, takes a look at historical facts and Britain’s role in bringing the Portuguese monarchy to an end.
The narrative begins during the 19th century when several noble and royal families had ambitions for their daughters to marry Prince Carlos of Portugal. A relative of Queen Victoria and heir to the Portuguese throne, he was an eligible bachelor looking to find a suitable bride. Inevitably, a great deal of interest was created, and the royal courts of Europe put forward four of the most likely candidates.
In an amusing scene in the play, one by one these eccentric and opinionated young women are deemed to be unsuitable. Against the odds and expectations, it is the French Princess, Amelia of Orleans, living in exile in England who becomes the Prince’s wife.
Within a few years, republican politics begin to impact on the couple’s happy marriage and their lavish lifestyle. By now King and Queen, there is a showdown when Britain challenges Portugal over land in Africa.
Cecil Rhodes and his ambitious plans are a challenge to King Carlos and, when his popularity dwindles, he adopts a series of authoritarian measures. His reign as King is doomed.
The cast of 12 is mostly dressed in Steampunk costumes echoing the fashions of the time. Presenting a play that is educational and entertaining, it questions the rules of monarchy in a witty and amusing way.
Written partly in rhyme by Algarve resident Carolyn Kain, it is the sixth in a line of similar plays that examine through history the relationships between Portugal and Britain.
Beneficiaries of the show are the Bombeiros in São Brás – for the purchase of protective clothing and equipment.
When: Friday, December 10 at 7.30pm; Saturday, December 11 and Sunday, December 12 at 4pm
Where: São Brás Museum
Tickets: €10 (public); €8 (Amigos)
Advance bookings: 966 329 073