The King’s Speech, Wyndham’s Theatre

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Just two weeks ago, I was at Richmond Theatre watching the stage version of The King’s Speech (read my review here). So when I got an invitation to see the press night of the West End version, I was in two minds whether to see it again. I chose to accept partly to cheer on my friend Adam Lilley, who is in the ensemble.

I’m glad I did, though, because seeing the play again helped me clarify a few things.

I still think the play is a bit stodgy – the scenes of political exposition don’t quite work, and the overuse of the revolve at the top of Act 2 is as ridiculous as ever.

But at least the revolve at the Wyndham’s is built into the stage. At Richmond, the stage need to be elevated some distance to accommodate the mechanism, and as a result the first few rows of stalls were kept empty, as audience members would not have been able to see anything. That enforced distance between audience and stage makes a big difference in a script which is peppered with many funny lines. When the distance is too far, it can take too long to realise the audience is laughing at one line, throwing the timing off. At Wyndham’s, where no seat is particularly far away from the stage, the intimacy makes the comedy moments zing, and the emotional highpoints resonate too.

Many of my misgivings about The King’s Speech remain. But the play itself, in its new home, works better and feels that little bit more convincing as an evening of theatre.

The King’s Speech, Wyndham’s Theatre3Scott Matthewman2012-03-29 10:59:04Just two weeks ago, I was at Richmond Theatre watching the stage version of The King’s Speech (read my review here). So when I got an invitation to se…

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Scott Matthewman

Formerly Online Editor and Digital Project Manager for The Stage, creator of the award-winning The Gay Vote politics blog, now a full-time software developer specialising in Ruby, Objective-C and Swift, as well as a part-time critic for Musical Theatre Review, The Reviews Hub and others.

One thought on “The King’s Speech, Wyndham’s Theatre”

  1. What a fantastic play! I took my dad and we enormously enjoyed our whole evening. I have seen the movie and I have to say that I greatly preferred the play. It’s such a wonderful story and the ‘cleanness’ of the play with its great delivery and acting, and with only a few characters meant the whole story just came to life. Whereas with the film I was almost distracted at times with all the surroundings and characters. I rarely just see a play – what with so many musicals around now, but that was so refreshing and so enjoyable. Truly grateful for what was a wonderful evening and I will be sure to let all my friends know they must go and see it!