Spectator Critics Premiere Right Royal Farce, 31 JulDate: 6 July 2006
As previously tipped (See The Goss, 28 Feb 2006), journalists-turned-playwrights Toby Young and Lloyd Evans are following up their Whatsonstage.com Award-winning, David Blunkett-inspired Who's the Daddy? with a new sex farce about the royal family. A Right Royal Farce will have a limited six-week season, from 31 July to 28 August 2006 (previews from 20 July), at north London’s King’s Head Theatre, where the pair’s debut collaboration premiered a year ago.
Set immediately after the Queen’s death, A Right Royal Farce envisages a future in which Prince Harry makes a bid to be crowned king. Far from being the dim-witted party boy of popular imagination, Harry turns out to be a brilliant Machiavellian operator who enlists the support of his gorgeous girlfriend in an elaborate plot to steal the throne. The comedy is billed as a “highly controversial new play” in which the Windors are depicted as a “group of sex-crazed egomaniacs who are engaged in a non-stop game of musical beds”.
Commenting on the new piece, Young said: "I’m sure we’ll get a bit of flack from the tabloids, but it’s not intended to be an anti-Royal play. Our only agenda is to make people laugh." Evans added: "It may sound controversial, but in terms of subject matter A Right Royal Farce couldn’t be more conventional. The Royals have been a staple of British satire from Swift to Spitting Image."
Who's the Daddy? caused a media sensation when it premiered at the King’s Head last July. The authors, who both serve as drama critics on The Spectator, based it around three extra-marital affairs that took place in their office and, in 2004, earned the political magazine the nickname of The Sextator. The most high-profile of the affairs was that between publisher Kimberley Quinn and Home Secretary David Blunkett, which eventually led to the latter’s resignation. Both Evans and Young, however, managed to keep their jobs – even though their then-boss and editor Boris Johnson’s relationship with contributor Petronella Wyatt was also lampooned in the show.
In this year’s Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers’ Choice Awards, Young and Evans’ Who's the Daddy? was voted 2005’s Best New Comedy. Independent of Evans, Young adapted his best-selling memoir, How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, for the stage – and even appeared in the one-man show at the West End’s Arts Theatre.
The cast for A Right Royal Farce features Sarah Crowe (who played Petronella Wyatt in the earlier piece) as Camilla Parker Bowles, Andrew C Wadsworth as Prince Charles, William Hoyland as Prince Philip, Alex Bartram as Prince William, Richard Keith as Prince Harry and Katie Beard as Harry’s girlfriend Anoushka.
The production is directed by Alan Cohen, who commented: "The script is in the classic tradition of farce stretching all the way back to the Greeks. It holds the great and the good up to gentle ridicule and shows us a side of them we don't normally see."
- by Terri Paddock