Monday, March 12, 2012

'The King's Speech' - play

How many people knew that The King's Speech was originally written as a play but the stage production was put aside due to the making of the film (David Seidler wrote the script for both)? Luckily they are now touring the play and preparing for a West End transfer because it is an absolutely amazing piece of theatre.

The King's Speech at Richmond Theatre
Performance: Tuesday 6th March 2012 at 19:30
Seat: Stalls
Cast included: Charles Edwards (King George VI), Jonathan Hyde (Lionel Logue), Emma Fielding (Queen Elizabeth), Joss Ackland (King George V), Ian McNeice (Winston Churchill), Daniel Betts (King Edward VIII), Charlotte Randle (Myrtle Logue), David Killick (Stanley Baldwin), Michael Feast (Cosmo Lang), Lisa Baird (Wallis Simpson)

Theatrical poster
I have actually seen The King's Speech the film which in itself is rather a coincidence as I quite rarely watch films. This particular one I liked a lot and naturally, as the film was such a massive phenomenon too, I was keen on seeing the play. An additional positive factor was that it came to one of the closest theatres to where I live, Richmond Theatre, so I could not not go...

The King's Speech definitely goes onto my list of best plays I have seen: it was concise, captivating and witty. I assume everyone knows the story line so I will not start explaining that any further. The play is very similar to the film but I don't think it drags on as much. For example at the beginning the scenes change rapidly getting Queen Elizabeth to Lionel Logue's office for the first meeting in record time. I can imagine even people who do not usually go to the theatre liking this one because it is not packed with abstract imagery and, frankly, it was fascinating to see people act this one out on stage. The play was funnier than I remember the film being but then, I have only seen the film once so don't quote me on that. 

I am sure that people who have seen the film will be able to fairly easily picture the story working well on stage also. In the theatre the free-standing wall in the middle of the rotating stage made the set-changes fluent and enabled the projection of old film footage drawing the audience into the war-struck England for instance.

Charles Edwards with Jonathan Hyde and Emma Fielding
The cast were great. Charles Edwards most certainly did not come second to Colin Firth as the stuttering Bertie (in all fairness I am impressed by anyone who manages to convincingly play a stuttering character) and Jonathan Hyde as Lionel Logue was another great casting choice. I was also impressed by how well Ian McNeice suited the part of Winston Churchill (it's always interesting to see how the roles of such iconic people have been cast).

The King's Speech will open at the Wyndhams Theatre in the West End on 22nd March 2012 and is currently booking until 21st July 2012. 


  1. Sounds like a great production! I loved the movie and I'm very curious to see the Finnish stage version, soon...

    1. If I have the chance I'm definitely going to go and see the Finnish production as well. I think it's just amazing that the Finnish premiere takes place prior to the UK production hitting the West End!

    2. I found out sometimes ago Finland had the world's first Les Mis outside of Paris. In 1984, before the final version of the show even was released. Apparently we're really fast with these things here! :D

    3. That's amazing! I didn't know about that one. But Finland really is efficient at making own productions of world-famous musicals. I always think it's a shame Finnish theatre isn't that accessible to foreigners due to the language because I think we do have something to offer.