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The King’s Speech, Theatre Royal Glasgow 16th-20th March 2015

Published by: Jon Cuthbertson on 18th Mar 2015 | View all blogs by Jon Cuthbertson

A play based on historic events, already well known from the film adaptation, starring an ex-soap star (with less than glowing reviews for recent roles) and one of the regulars from the rather high camp “Hotel Babylon” as the leads....this was not one review I was looking forward to! But in true theatrical style, I now have to eat my words as this was a thoroughly entertaining, enjoyable and even emotional production.


(Jason Donovan as Lionel Logue & Raymond Coulthard as George VI (Bertie) photo by Hugh Glendinning)

The story follows “Bertie” (later King George VI) and his relationship with his maverick Australian born speech therapist as he tries to overcome his stammer. And it is this relationship which provides so much of the enjoyment. Jason Donovan seems totally at ease in this role, giving energy and life throughout. His contrast to Raymond Coulthard’s excellent delivery of the uptight and put upon royal provides lots of chances for humour as their relationship grows. The relationships elsewhere in the play provide the drama and interest. As Bertie’s wife, Elizabeth (the fondly remembered Queen Mother) we see a woman with warmth and wit. Claire Lams has lots of fun with the playful side of this character although her poise and diction never once falter as only a royal should. In opposition to this, we see Myrtle Logue, mirroring her husband in humour, wit and energy. Katy Stephens is the perfect foil to Jason Donovan’s Lionel Logue and the naturalness of their relationship provides a number of touching moments. Not one performance in this production could be faulted – the strong ensemble cast have managed to elevate what could easily have been a rather staid piece of theatre into something intelligent, fun and moving.

The wonderful set design by Tom Piper is put to excellent use in Roxana Silbert’s production. The wood panels that open to create the doorways to allow seamless scene and costume changes are a brave choice in a play where people would expect a more literal recreation of scenes, but this proves that theatre should trust in imagination. The opening scene where Bertie is dressed for a ceremony sets up perfectly the choreographed movements that keep the action and artistry flowing.

Bertie’s stammer, exceptionally well portrayed by Raymond Coulthard, seems immaterial once you realise that this is a play purely about relationships, relationships as couples, as family, as friends, as competitors and power struggles. The cast capture each of these perfectly and make an evening of theatre that is beautifully entertaining. So switch off Netflix, step away from the SkyPlus, walk away from the cinema and experience real theatre as it should be done.


Listing Information

Mon 16 – Sat 20 March                 

Evenings: 7.30pm                                            

Matinees: Thu & Sat at 2.30pm (booking fee)

0844 871 7647 (booking fee)


1 Comment

  • Cameron Lowe
    by Cameron Lowe 3 years ago
    Sounds great, Jon. Thanks for your review!
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