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The King's Speech By David Seidler - » The Kings Speech – Theatre Royal, Nottingham, and touring

The Kings Speech – Theatre Royal, Nottingham, and touring

March 16th, 2012

by Patrick Marmion

What a weight of expectation lies on David Seidler’s play. It’s only the original version of a film that trails Oscars and other awards like so many pots on a tinkers wagon. But the good news is that the play rises to the film with all the pride and emotional moment of George VI to his microphone.

The greatest load surely falls on Charles Edwards taking on the role of Colin Firth’s mic-shy monarch whose body ‘refuses to obey his commands’. But curiously,  this pressure only makes you more sympathetic to Edwards – hoping that he, like George VI, will measure up to the task. And he absolutely does. Indeed,  there is much more to his performance. Not only does he move from nervy stammers to sonorous elocution, the play develops a tender relationship with his wife as well as the burgeoning relationship with his Aussie speech therapist, Lionel Logue. Their bonding is particularly nicely played when George sits on one of Logue’s model Airplanes and then helps fix it.

As Logue, Jonathan Hyde is an absolutely charming cobber, unable to fulfil his real dream of playing Shakespeare. But as with George, the play more fully develops his relationship with his homely wife (Charlotte Randle) who is desperate to return Down Under.

In real life, his wife was no such wall flower, but Seidler’s innovation reveals logue as the sort of big hearted fella who people cant help loving. Intriguingly, It’s also a journey of rehabilitation for director Adrian Noble who has kept a relatively low profile since falling from grace as the head of RSC in 2004.His production has the look of a slickly nostalgic Jack Vettriano painting centring on a huge revolving black picture frame. There is also much newsreel footage with the ever raving Adolf Hitler providing contrast with tongue-tied Geporge.

But Noble ensures this historical stuff moves briskly along. Ian McNeice is a planet-size Churchill infusing the story with wit and cigar smoke. Michael Feast is an apoplectic Archbishop of Canterbury and Emma Fielding is a steadying hand on the rudder as Queen Elizabeth. The upshot is a very British love story of stiff upper lip and emotional fortitude that more than holds up to the movie. 

What a weight of expectation lies on David Seidler’s play. It’s only the original version of a film that trails Oscars and other awards like so many pots on a tinkers wagon. But the good news is that the play rises to the film with all the pride and emotional moment of George VI to his microphone.

The greatest load surely falls on Charles Edwards taking on the role of Colin Firth’s mic-shy monarch whose body ‘refuses to obey his commands’. But curiously,  this pressure only makes you more sympathetic to Edwards – hoping that he, like George VI, will measure up to the task. And he absolutely does. Indeed,  there is much more to his performance. Not only does he move from nervy stammers to sonorous elocution, the play develops a tender relationship with his wife as well as the burgeoning relationship with his Aussie speech therapist, Lionel Logue. Their bonding is particularly nicely played when George sits on one of Logue’s model Airplanes and then helps fix it.

As Logue, Jonathan Hyde is an absolutely charming cobber, unable to fulfil his real dream of playing Shakespeare. But as with George, the play more fully develops his relationship with his homely wife (Charlotte Randle) who is desperate to return Down Under.

In real life, his wife was no such wall flower, but Seidler’s innovation reveals logue as the sort of big hearted fella who people cant help loving. Intriguingly, It’s also a journey of rehabilitation for director Adrian Noble who has kept a relatively low profile since falling from grace as the head of RSC in 2004.His production has the look of a slickly nostalgic Jack Vettriano painting centring on a huge revolving black picture frame. There is also much newsreel footage with the ever raving Adolf Hitler providing contrast with tongue-tied Geporge.

But Noble ensures this historical stuff moves briskly along. Ian McNeice is a planet-size Churchill infusing the story with wit and cigar smoke. Michael Feast is an apoplectic Archbishop of Canterbury and Emma Fielding is a steadying hand on the rudder as Queen Elizabeth. The upshot is a very British love story of stiff upper lip and emotional fortitude that more than holds up to the movie. 


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