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The King's Speech - UK Tour Review

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by ABC Writer (subscribe)
Freelance journalist with a passion for theatre, the arts, food and books.
Event: -
Tour Heads To Leeds, Milton Keynes, Edinburgh And More
There's something quite majestic about the touring production of The King's Speech. It not only benefits from a superb cast but is crowned with a glorious stage set that is fit for a king. I caught the show at Malvern Theatres ahead of its stop-off in cities including Leeds, Edinburgh, Oxford, Milton Keynes and Truro until June.

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Raymond Coulthard as King George VI in the tour of The King's Speech

It's a hard act to follow the film of the same name that won a multitude of top awards including the Oscar for Best Picture, but filling the shoes of Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush as stuttering King George VI and his Australian speech therapist Lionel Logue are Raymond Coulthard and Jason Donovan.

The pair of actors have a wonderful chemistry as we follow their characters' unconventional relationship as they try to overcome the royal's speech problems.

Aside from this central relationship drama, the national crisis of Edward VIII's abdication to marry divorcee Wallis Simpson and the looming Second World War keep the story bubbling along nicely.

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Majestic scenes in The King's Speech

The grand set makes it even more watchable. It's floor to ceiling wood panelling with a wooden parkay floor and velvet curtains that slide across stage to break up the scenes and action. Amid the wood are secret doors and balconies from where radio announcers and the like appear.

Coulthard, a familiar face on television in series from Call The Midwife to Mr Selfridge, has realistically grasped the role, stuttering in a natural way rather than making the character a cliche.

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Jason Donovan impresses in The King's Speech.

Donovan shows his aptitude for more serious acting compared to the usual musical roles he takes. His Logue is a lovable figure with energy, affection and plenty of bravado, no more enjoyably so than when he is making the stuffy Archbishop Cosmo Lang bristle. This comes during a standout scene in Westminster Abbey, when the king is practising for the coronation. It's funny, serious, emotional and powerful within the one scene - perfect theatre.

The archbishop is played by Martin Turner (Holby City, New Tricks) and just one of the strong cast that includes an impressive Claire Lams as Queen Elizabeth (recently seen in The Wrong Mans) and Nicholas Blane as a believable Winston Churchill.

The whole production is an intelligent drama and a very regal affair. It has earned a salute from me.

Rating: 8/10

The King's Speech UK Tour
Tickets cost from 14.

Mon, 27th April 2015 to Sat, 2nd May 2015
Malvern Theatres, Malvern
Tickets from the Malvern Theatres website,

Tue, 5th May 2015 to Sat, 9th May 2015
Milton Keynes Theatre, Milton Keynes.
Visit the ATG ticket website.

Mon, 11th May 2015 to Sat, 16th May 2015
The Playhouse, Oxford
Tickets from the theatre website.

Mon, 18th May 2015 to Mon, 25th May 2015
King's Theatre, Edinburgh
Tickets from the King's Theatre website.

Tue, 26th May 2015 to Mon, 1st June 2015
Grand Theatre and Opera House, Leeds
Tickets by calling 0844 848 2700 or from the theatre website.

Wed, 3rd June 2015 to Mon, 8th June 2015
Hall for Cornwall, Truro
Tickets from the Hall for Cornwall website.
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Why? Majestic show about a royal drama
When: Touring until June 8, 2015
Phone: 0113 297 7049
Where: Leeds Grand Theatre and others on UK Tour
Cost: From 14
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