King’s Speech hits the high notes at Nottingham Theatre Royal

The King's Speech
The King's Speech

THERE are many events planned this year to celebrate the Queen’s diamond jubilee.

But I can’t think of a better example of her selfless devotion to duty and service than those displayed by her father in ‘The King’s Speech’ currently on at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal until this Saturday (18th), writes Tony Spittles.

Yes, it’s been an award-winning film, but it owes its roots to David Seidler’s original stage drama, which have now been given new life and immediacy in this must-see production which comes to Nottingham the week after it wowed audiences and critics at its world premiere in Guildford.

Four other provincial dates -- Bath, Brighton, Richmond and Newcastle -- are planned, but such is the quality and relevance of this piece of history that a longer tour and West End staging are surely a must.

This is in no small way due to the interplay of the two main characters -- the reluctant King George VI (Bertie) played to perfection by Charles Edwards (Paul in ‘Mistresses’ and ‘Midsomer Murders) who was helped in overcoming his stutter by unorthodox speech therapist Lionel Logue (Jonathan Hyde from ‘Spooks’ and ‘Sherlock Holmes’).

Logue’s slow and steady help to the stammering and stumbling Bertie, thrust into Royal duties by the abdication of his brother, King Edward VIII, has added impact with a revolving set fronting a giant screen of real-life newsreels from those tumultous pre-war years.

This is no better shown in the behind-the-scenes hopes and aspirations of others in this all-too-real story, including Bertie’s wife, Queen Elizabeth (Emma Fielding with a cut-glass accent to match her royal role), King George V (Joss Ackland) whose devotion to duty set the template for service to the country, contrasted amid the ensuing constitutional crisis of the abdication by the self-serving interests of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Cosmo Lang, played with a great flourish by Michael Feast.

For further details of performance times, and tickets (£11 to £27.50), please contact the Theatre Royal box office on 0115-989-555.