Archive for October 6th, 2010

Wilde productions from the south of England brought the first touring version of Alan Bennet’s play since the original NT production to Perth.    I was curious to see this having enjoyed the film when it came out with Nigel Hawthorne.

Madness of King George IIIThis was the third theatre venue of the tour, and the first night in Perth.   Technical problems kept the actors and audience waiting for (count them) 50 minutes.   We were not even allowed into the house, and stood about the extremely stuffy foyer of Perth Theatre while presumably inside the technical people faffed about with laptops.    This was a long show, and quite a few audience left as they realised that finishing time would be after 11pm.   We were never given a proper explanation.

And this production of the play was not as good as the film – not by a long chalk.    Short scenes were played out in front of a series of flimsy curtains, but the momentum sagged in the first half – clearly the actors were not at their best either after studying their dressing room walls for an hour.    However, by the second half, the action moved along better – the King became iller and then recovered.    Simon Ward as the King, Jamie Hinde as Pitt and Kate Colebrook as the Page gave the best performances in what was otherwise a disappointing evening all round.

I can’t leave this without commenting on the odd costumes, topped by the most ridiculous joke wigs you have ever seen.   The Queen looked like she was wearing a tea cosy.    They clearly found some proper wigs for the poster, so what on earth is going on here?     This is a serious play about the monarch going mad, and the political power-playing that ensues – to dress it up like a caricature is to do is a great disservice.   

And why has this play not been taken on by any Scottish house?  This is exactly the play which Perth Rep or Dundee Rep could have tackled, and odds on they would have made a much better job.

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