DAVID Haig received a standing ovation for his performance in the title role of The Madness of George III at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal at Nottingham Playhouse yesterday (Monday).
As the audience members left the theatre, I heard nothing but praise for this wonderful interpretation of Alan Bennett’s well-loved play.
Set in the 18th Century in the royal court of King George III, this was a time when the security of the country and the British Empire depended not only on strength of the government but also the power of the monarch.
George is shown to be mildly eccentric but very much in control of his faculties. However, as his illness begins to take hold, he is tormented by both physical and psychological problems and there are many who think he is unfit to rule including his own son The Prince of Wales (played the brilliant Christopher Keegan).
Historians believe that King George was suffering from a hereditary condition known as porphyria which is caused by a build up of toxins due to an enzyme deficiency.
Throughout the play, we see Haig power his way through this challenging role with an abundance of energy - his body writhes as he is strapped down by his physicians and courtiers and he manages to convey well the anguish George III must have felt, as well as the humour in Bennett’s script.
Overall, this was an excellent production with strong performances from all the cast members. A special mention must also go to Christopher Keegan for his role as the pompous Prince of Wales, Beatie Edney for her regal and dignified portrayal of Queen Charlotte and Nicholas Rowe who played the stressed-looking prime minister William Pitt.
• The Madness of King George runs until Saturday. For details or to book tickets contact to Box Office on 0115 989 5555 or visit www.trch.co.uk.
Review by Catherine Allen