New York | 1h 30m | Already closed

Fit for a Queen

From 6 critic and 5 member reviews
Members say: Quirky, Ambitious, Entertaining, Clever, Indulgent

About the show

Classical Theatre of Harlem presents the world premiere of Betty Shamieh's drama inspired by the life of Hatshepsut, one of the only female pharaohs to rule in Ancient Egypt. More…

The most dangerous opponent to Hatshepsut’s kingship turns out to be her own daughter. Full of intrigue, farce, and sexual politics, 'Fit for a Queen' illuminates the largely unknown history of a compelling African woman who took power over the most advanced civilization of the ancient world.

Tribeca Trib Online

"While the plot is based on ancient history and an Egyptian queen who really became pharaoh, its focus on women in power particularly resonates today...This play delivers a hilarious, beautifully written tale of what it takes to be a woman in power and how absolute power does inevitably corrupt absolutely. Tamilla Woodward’s taut direction and the stellar cast could probably carry any play, but here the writing is both poetic and powerful and the comedy is intelligent and sharp." Full Review

Plays to See

"With a female writer, director, and predominantly female cast, 'Fit for a Queen' is refreshingly feminist...Though some scenes tend to lag, they are revived by the lively music and the brilliant ensemble of dancers in each effortless scene change. The music, the dancing, and the costumes all contribute to what is so compelling...If you’re looking to go to the theater to forget the troubles of the world, 'Fit for a Queen' is not that play–and that’s no accident. This play is bold in many ways." Full Review


"It is with this touch of cunning, charisma and sass that Ms. Irving lights up the stage whenever present, helping to propel the production...There is a historical context for all of the characters mentioned in 'Fit For A Queen,' but instead of staying completely historically accurate, this production is not afraid to change the details and add touches of charisma where possible...From a humanistic point of view, this version of the mighty female pharaoh transcends that." Full Review

Time Out New York

"A transhistorical mash-up of sensibilities that dispenses with the facts in favor of a feminist farce, albeit one about serious subjects such as slavery, subjugation and sexism...While 'Fit for a Queen' is intellectually stimulating, it's rarely emotionally engaging. Woodard doesn't manage to make its disparate styles cohere...Still, these women command our attention, not just Hatshepsut and Senenmut but playwright Shamieh, too. She's slyly reinventing the past to comment on our present." Full Review

The New York Times

"Ms. Shamieh has taken promiscuous liberties with history to ponder the oppressiveness of sex and class in the days when the pyramids were new. She does so with a blitheness that often makes more earnest intentions hard to discern. 'Fit for a Queen' tries, with mixed success, to be many things at once...The acting is variable. And the show tends to go limp in what should be its climactic moments. But the wordy, vampy 90 minutes pass entertainingly enough." Full Review

Theater Life

"The play, which mixes foolish farce with serious satire in equal degrees, has a generally fast pace that is sometimes bogged down with unequal acting. But when the going gets roughest, the ensemble of servants comes in to save the day, with ritualized dance that has a pronounced modern feel, as choreographed by Joya Powell...'Fit for a Queen' is an apt reminder that the road to power has never been easy for a woman." Full Review

Entertaining, Quirky, Ambitious, Clever

See it if If you're interested in a light-hearted show about rather weighty topics, including feminism, slavery and murder.

Don't see it if You don't appreciate fictional plays based on Egyptian history.

Also Very entertaining, but transitions a bit awkwardly between clever jibe... Read more Read less

Refreshing, Quirky, Great staging

See it if You like campy stories about the back stabbing ways of the royal court.

Don't see it if You like serious drama and don't like a bit of camp.

Ambitious, Entertaining, Uneven

See it if If you enjoy fun, campy theatre that has sexy elements this is a show for you. A little bit farce & a lot of bit soap opera

Don't see it if If you looking for a penetrating drama or a historical awakening.

Quirky, Indulgent, Ambitious, Raunchy

See it if you're not put off by over the top

Don't see it if productions that use contemporary language in historical contexts

Clever, Great acting, Resonant, Ambitious, Quirky

See it if you want some light entertainment with the opportunity to play armchair psychiatrist with family dynamics.

Don't see it if you do not long plays (two acts) and are not interested in family interactions.

Cast & Creatives (17)