Crown Matrimonial

5 out of 5 stars
(2user reviews)
Revival for Royce Ryton's most famous work, this 1972 drama about the royal abdication crisis of 1936.


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Average User Rating

5 / 5

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A tour de force from Kathryn Hamilton-Hall as Queen Mary, with strong support from the rest of the cast. A fine play, which deals with the abdication more subtly than The King's Speech. Worryingly, one can see how prince Charles takes after great-uncle Edward VIII (convincingly acted by Jamie Thompson) in his opinionated, self-justifying egotism.

I just had the great good fortune to see the opening night of this production and I would encourage anyone to go to see it. Barons Court Theatre is hardly palatial but with a gorgeous rug, some nice furniture, some curtains and a large photo of George V they have created the feeling that you're stepping into a room at Buckingham Palace. Kathryn Hamilton-Hall is clearly too young for the ageing Queen Mary but her excellent performance transcends this - helped by some great costumes and a good wig. You soon forget her youth as you are drawn into this story. It is billed as a prequel to The King's Speech but this isn't entirely true - the two overlap a great deal. It is more a companion piece, seen from the viewpoint of Queen Mary, a tiny role in the film. Edward VIII is played by Jamie Thompson and like Hamilton-Hall he is excellent. Indeed, the two dominate the evening, though they are on stage more than anyone else. In act two we briefly get to meet Emily Lockwood's Princess Elizabeth (a.k.a. The Queen Mother). Lockwood certainly gives Helena Bonham-Carter a run for her money and certainly left me wanting more - however, the low cut dress left little to the imagination! Accompanying her is Andrew Chevalier as Bertie. What a weight he must feel on his shoulders, following on so soon after Colin Firth won an Oscar in the role. Chevalier's performance is very different from that of Firth's but he comes into his own in his second scene when he finds out he is King. His breakdown brought a lump to the throat and a tear to the eye. All in all, a great night in the theatre which should interest anyone who enjoyed The King's Speech - go see!