THE KING'S SPEECH opened on the 22nd March at Wyndham's Theatre featuring Charles Edwards as King George VI, Jonathan Hyde as Lionel Logue, Emma Fielding as Queen Elizabeth, Ian McNeice as Winston Churchill, Michael Feast as Cosmo Lang, and Joss Ackland as King George V.
The world premiere production of the original play by David Seidler took place on Friday 10 February at Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud Theatre and continued on tour around the UK until 17 March.
Directed by Adrian Noble and designed by Anthony Ward, the cast also includes Charlotte Randle as Myrtle Logue, David Killick as Stanley Baldwin, and Daniel Betts as King Edward VIII.
David Seidler wrote The King’s Speech as a play before it became a film for which he won both the Academy Award and BAFTA for Best Screenplay. Did the show impress in its West End debut? Find out now!
Caroline McGinn, Time Out London: Charles Edwards is outstanding. He betters Colin Firth's film performance, bringing a subtlety, understated wit and mercurial flair that Firth, an intelligent but square presence in all his film roles, lacks. Seidler's rewrite also brings a bigger breath of proletarian fresh air, underlining the difficulty that Bertie's Aussie speech therapist Lionel Logue (played with unfailing warmth and sympathy by Jonathan Hyde) and his shopgirl wife Myrtle (the excellent Charlotte Randle) have in being accepted in frigid, suspicious pre-war Britain.
Quentin Letts, The Daily Mail: To see the stammering, frustrated George VI before a live audience as he makes his closing speech to the people becomes a powerful moment and this production is well served by its cast. Both face a mighty task: to match the film performances of Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush — both meet the challenge...I cannot say I liked this more than the film. But I liked it equally.
Henry Hitchings, London Evening Standard: Adrian Noble’s sure-footed production combines well-judged humour with poignancy and a delight in patriotic ceremony. A strong sense of time and place derives from Anthony Ward’s ingenious design and Jon Driscoll’s projections. Less compelling is the use of echo in the most intimate scenes, which creates an air of portentousness. But even though I am not wholly convinced that a West End staging of The King’s Speech is something we urgently need, this is a slick, appealing package. The two key roles are inhabited fully - and at times thrillingly.
Theo Bosanquet, What's On Stage: Charles Edwards has a difficult job tackling the central role, with the ghost of Colin Firth haunting the crown, but he pulls it off with aplomb. In fact I prefer him to Firth, who I felt was slightly too robust to capture the fragility of Bertie...Adrian Noble’s production provides a fine first outing for this rags-to-riches playscript, which reveals Seidler as a writer who combines an historian’s eye for detail with a keen awareness of dramatic structure. I can’t pretend I got dewy-eyed at the mawkish Elgar-infused finale, but there are plenty who will.