- February 17, 2012
The play which inspired the Oscar-winning film comes to Theatre Royal Brighton
The intensely moving play, The King’s Speech, tells the story of King George VI, thrust unexpectedly into the spotlight when his brother King Edward VIII abdicates for the love of Wallis Simpson. With the help of maverick speech therapist Lionel Logue, King George VI overcomes the debilitating stammer which leaves him unable to address the nation at a time of national crisis on the brink of World War II.
One of 2010’s most successful films, The King’s Speech won countless awards, including four Academy Awards© and seven BAFTAs. What many of the film’s fans may not realise though was that the piece was originally written as a play.
When Adrian Noble, former artistic director and chief executive of the Royal Shakespeare Company, first read the script of the play, before the film came out, he immediately recognised it as a “director’s dream”. It was the strong central relationship between the King and Lionel Logue that really appealed to Noble. Noble was convinced that the intimacy of the theatre was the perfect place in which to portray the King’s difficult relationship with his father and to show him gradually overcome his vulnerability and find his voice as a leader, both literally and metaphorically. The play is a “different animal” from the film, comments Noble. He describes the play as being “more political, more edgy” than the film version, with Churchill playing a more prominent role in the stage version.
Distinguished actor Joss Ackland leads the all star cast in the role of George V. Ackland has appeared in over 100 films, scores of plays and multiple television programmes in his six decade career. He is joined by Ian McNeice (Churchill), best known for his role as Bert Large in TV’s Doc Martin; Charles Edwards (George VI ) recently nominated for Evening Standard Best Actor Award for Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing at Shakespeare’s Globe; Emma Fielding (Queen Elizabeth) well known for her roles in TV’s Cranford and The Ghost Squad, and in numerous RSC and National Theatre productions; and Jonathan Hyde (Lionel Logue) whose credits include Nijinsky (Chichester Festival Theatre), Jumpers (National Theatre) and Antigone (Old Vic theatre).
The King’s Speech is a compelling experience for lovers of the film as well as those who are seeing it for the first time.
The King’s Speech, Theatre Royal Brighton, Mon 27 Feb–Sat 3 Mar, £15–£29.50, 0844 871 7650 (booking fee), www.atgtickets.com/brighton (booking fee).