The King’s Speech

The King’s Theatre, Edinburgh
Mon 18th to Sat 23rd May
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Considered one of the most successful British films of all time most people will have heard of The King’s Speech.  Beautifully crafted for the stage by David Seidler and sarring Jason Donovan as Lionel Logue and Raymond Coulthard as Bertie, King George VI. Painfully shy and with a profound stutter Bertie was never meant to be King. A cold and controlling father and bullying brother had left Bertie feeling he had no voice. His occasional public speeches being a total torment for him. When his older brother David, the now king Edward VIII abdicates the throne for the love of a twice divorced American with Nazi sympathies,  Wallis Simpson. Berties wife Elizabeth turns to a Harley Street Speech Therapist Lionel Logue, a failed actor from Australia.  It’s what happens in the confines of the consulting room that is at the beating heart of this historical “bromance.”
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Can the shy new king get through his coronation and rally the troops, defend an Empire and address a nation poised for war only to find at the crucial moment Lionel is not all he appears to be.  Having seen the film I was surprised to find the play far more honest and and funny, Churchill and the Archbishop of Canterbury being used, in the writers own words as a ” comic Greek chorus” passing on the social commentary of the day in a very naughty, vapid and funny fashion very much missing from the film.
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There is seamless movement from scene to scene, the set design is very economical and uses the height of the stage to great effect moving from the small intimate space of Logue’s office to the grand space of Westminster Abbey. The scene changes are timed perfectly it’s like a waltz being played out across the stage always propelling the story forward. It’s thrifty in its delivery, stripped back.  Proper storytelling, leaving the actors with nothing to hide behind both leads using their experience and showing themselves to be equal to the task. It’s again credit to David Seidler’s great storytelling and the actor’s honest portrayals that you really feel empathy for the shy and sensitive Bertie restrained by his sense of duty. It shows the politcs of their relationship juxtaposed over the the politics of the time,both their personal situations told sensitively and how the hand of friendship “saved” a nation.
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Reviewer : Angela Nisbet
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Posted on May 20, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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