Before it won four Oscars after a spectacular run in the world’s cinemas, ‘The King’s Speech‘ was a play by David Seidler, and much to the delight of London’s theatre-goers this play has just returned for a run at Wyndham’s Theatre on Charing Cross Road.
Charles Edwards is in fine form as the tongue-tied King in waiting, and you might even argue that he cuts a more convincing figure than Colin Firth – the Duke of York’s horror at the looming responsibilities of the crown is palpable throughout the performance. Jonathan Hyde is brilliantly cast in the role of the cutting but compassionate Logue, although Charlotte Randle, as Mrs Logue, makes a better fist of simulating that peculiarly piercing Western Australian accent.
It should be noted that Seidler’s stage play is rather a different beast to it’s on-screen counterpart – while the scenes between Logue and the soon-to-be King George VI play out as you will remember them, on the stage a great deal more care is given to the minor characters. You will discover, for example, that Mrs Logue is deeply frustrated by her husband’s reluctance to return home to their native Perth, and the back room wranglings of Winston Churchill and the Archbishop of Canterbury are far more fleshed out – in fact, Churchill (played by Ian McNiece for the nth time!) and Archbishop Lang (Michael Feast) are a particularly delicious pairing, bordering on a comedy double act at times.
The stage setting, while quite sparse, also makes the most of the Wydnham’s facilities – rotating stage sections go off in all directions, propelling actors upstage and downstage while big screen projections fill in the historical gaps – Hitler’s strident speeches, George V’s funeral and George VI’s coronation all feature.
‘The King’s Speech’ is currently taking bookings until mid July and there are links to purchase tickets at the bottom of this post. If you were a fan of the film then a visit to the play will definitely renew your love of this particularly touching story, and I highly recommend it – the fact that it is playing in what is probably London’s most ornate theatre is a bonus.
[box]If you’re interested in digging a little further into what other patrons thought of the show, the Winkball site has uploaded lots of ‘exit’ interviews with people as they leave the theatre. You can find these videos here. There’s also a very limited time offer for readers of the Londoner for good seats at £29.50 – check this link for more details[/box]
Finally, if you’ve enjoyed reading this review and are planning to go along to the show, we would really appreciate it if you would consider using the following links to buy your tickets. Any tickets or hotel and ticket packages purchased through the following sites will help to support the continued development of the Londoneer. Many thanks!