Friday, 8 May 2015

Review: The King's Speech (UK Tour) at the Milton Keynes Theatre



The King's Speech (UK Tour)
Milton Keynes Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday 5th May 2015
★★★★

Set in 1936 with the world on the brink of war, David Seidler's play The King's Speech - which was adapted into a hugely popular film starring Colin Firth in 2010 - follows Bertie (who is to be crowned King George VI of England) as he attempts to cope with his stammer and conquer his fear of public speaking.

Bertie seeks help in the form of failed actor turned speech therapist Lionel Logue. As the piece progresses the pair form an unlikely bond, there's also support from Bertie's wife Elizabeth (aka the Queen Mother) and Lionel’s wife, Myrtle. 

Roxana Silbert's new production of The King's Speech is notably scaled back compared to the previous version which also toured before transferring to the West End in 2012. However, Silbert brings extra style to the piece; it feels slick and fresh – although on occasion the stage feels a little bare. 

It's inspiring to watch the progression of Raymond Coulthard's portrayal of Bertie. Coulthard shares strong chemistry opposite Jason Donovan who is a revelation as Australian speech therapist Lionel. I've seen Donovan in various roles over the years, but this is by far the strongest I have seen him on stage. Donovan is charming and it’s great to see him having fun with the role.

As usual the Milton Keynes Theatre was alive and buzzing with the packed audience chuckling throughout. Despite dipping once or twice, The King's Speech is a touching show based on truth. This new tour offers something new, but nobody could ever take away its powerful and uplifting message. 

Reviewed by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)

The King's Speech runs at the Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday 9th May and tours the UK until Saturday 6th June 2015. Please visit www.kingsspeechplay.co.uk for further information, full tour dates and tickets.

Photo Credit: Hugo Glendinning 

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