REVIEW: The King’s Speech at Milton Keynes Theatre

The King's Speech at Milton Keynes Theatre
The King's Speech at Milton Keynes Theatre

Many will have seen the film but now’s your chance to see it brought to life on stage.

The King’s Speech opened at Milton Keynes last night and doesn’t falter in its portrayal of King George VI and his battle to overcome his stammer.

Set against a wooden backdrop which seamlessly transforms from one location to another, the audience is taken back to the 1930s when the abdication of his brother saw George, affectionately known as Bertie, reluctantly take the throne.

Raymond Coulthard had the task of playing the royal who struggled to beat his stutter and it can’t be an easy part to play.

But he captured the awkwardness beautifully, helping the audience emphathise with his embarrassment of trying to address the nation without stuttering or stumbling over words.

In contrast to the king is Lionel Logue, the speech therapist played by Jason Donovan who turns out to be the only one who can help the monarch conquer his fear of public speaking.

The former Neighbours star plays the therapist perfectly, telling of his own quest to be an actor and the failure on numerous attempts to get his voice heard by the right people.

Coulthard and Donovan’s characters come from completely different walks of life, but the play sees their friendship blossom as the therapist tries to use singing, music and even dance to bring the stutter under control.

The dance scene was particularly entertaining, with both men proving to be quite light on their feet, and brought a smile to many in the theatre.

Also bringing some light relief during the story, which touches on other more serious issues such as euthanasia, are the characters of Churchill, the Archbishop of Canterbury and Stanley Baldwin.

The trio brought some comedic moments to the performance with their take on the royal scandal unfolding before their eyes.

As the final scene played out and the actors took their bows, applause broke out around the theatre with a number taking to their feet to show their appreciation.

The play adaptation has been beautifully crafted and some may like it just as much, if not more, than the film.

It is very subtle and understated in parts, but the cast, stage setting and story work in harmony with each other as the audience is taken on a journey with Bertie to find out if he can beat his speech impediment.

The Kings’s Speech is running at Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday, May 9.

To book tickets call 0844 8717652.