Stars explained: * A production of no real merit with failings in all areas. ** A production showing evidence of not enough time or effort, or even talent, and which never breathes any real life into the piece – or a show lumbered with a terrible script. *** A good enjoyable show which might have some small flaws but has largely achieved what it set out to do.**** An excellent show which shows a great deal of work and stage craft with no noticeable or major flaws.***** A four star show which has found that extra bit of magic which lifts theatre to another plane.
Half stars fall between the ratings

George VI

HRH King George VI, who battled to overcome a severe stammer

The King's Speech

The Nonentities

The Rose Theatre. Kidderminster


Without doubt the Nonentities certainly like a challenge. After managing to obtain the rare performance rights to the stage version of David Seidler's Oscar winner The King’s Speech, there remained the task of doing this complex play justice.

The film probably exceeded everyone’s expectations with its relatively small production budget of £8 million raking in more than £250 million at the box office.

The story of King George VI was something of a personal obsession for Seidler. He himself suffered from a similar affliction as a child and was played the real recording of the King speaking as a young boy, to give him confidence to overcome his own stammer

 He discovered later in life that Lionel Logue, an Australian speech specialist, had assisted the King and decided to write the story in the 1970s. However when asking permission of the royal household, Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, widow of George VI, requested the story was posponed until after her death. Seidler then didn’t start work on the play until 2005, three years after her death, and by that time he had developed throat cancer.

The play became a screenplay and the international success of the film version certainly brought the story to everyone’s attention but focused very much on the Kings affliction.

The play however was redrafted and now is a more balanced work and sets the King’s duty and his importance to speak to the nation in the context of the wider political landscape.

Stuart Wishart in the role of the King VI certainly never seemed overwhelmed by the enormity of his role. There is a great responsibility in delivering speeches that are a part of history and his performance was first class and reflected that.

logue and king

Richard Taylor as the Australian speech therapst Lionel Logue and Stuart Wishart as the stammering George VI

By the close of the play everyone had done enough work to make his rendition of the speech, telling the nation of the onset of the Second World War, both emotional and very real. He certainly captured the kings’ personal frustration with his limitations and the brevity of what was happening in the country at that time.

The very experienced Richard Taylor played Lionel Logue. Logue was the brash but caring Australian whose radical speech work enabled the king to speak fluently. There was a genuine rapport created between Taylor and Wishart capturing the spirit and tension of this very personal friendship.

Amy Cooper and Katie Ball played Elizabeth and Myrtle Logue respectively and added their delicate feminine support to the central story. Although the play is very much about the two central characters there was a fine supporting cast.

Bob Graham as the Archbishop of Canterbury, Colin Young as King George V, Stefan Austin as David the brother of King George VI, David Whiteman as Churchill and Tony Newbould as Baldwin the Prime Minister, all helped frame the political struggle that added weight to the importance of the King’s need to verbally communicate to the nation.

Tori Wakemans direction was clean and efficient proving that sometimes you only need the slightest of costume or lighting changes to move a scene along. Carol Wright and Hannah Tolley took care of the costumes collecting together a very authentic cast wardrobe.

The Kings speech is a remarkable play in that central to its success is the inspiration of a royal public figure to help a young boy through his own difficulties, who would then reward that help by documenting that royal struggle and bringing the story to international recognition.

It is rare for the play to be staged by an amateur group so the chance to see it at all and see it delivered with this quality is not to be missed. To 02-03-19

Jeff Grant


Home Reviews A-Z Reviews by affiliate