This was an excellent production of a very moving play - the last scene of Act 1 had me very shaken. Although everyone else was good and Alan Bennett's script is a joy, David Haig is the show here. - JR
04 Jul 12
David Haig is a legend - Gen
09 Mar 12
I gasped as I read in the programme that it was 20 years since this was first produced at the NT. I suppose the need for a cast of 24 and a mighty fine actor to play George III must be the reasons for a lack of revivals, so well done Theatre Royal Bath, who originated this production, for the opportunity.
I have to confess it isn’t the masterpiece I remembered, but it’s still a good play. Alan Bennett tells the story of a period of madness for the king, during which he gets a whole series of excruciating but conflicting treatments from four doctors (who in reality don’t have a clue) and Tory PM William Pitt almost loses office to Whig Charles Fox (with the support of playwright turned MP Sheridan!) whilst the playboy Prince of Wales almost becomes Prince Regent.
It’s a fascinating study of madness, royalty and politics – darker, more disturbing but less funny than I remember. The second act is better than the first, which is slower and a little uneven, but there are some brilliant moments to savour in Christopher Luscombe’s production. With so many scene changes it’s a design challenge, but Janet Bird has captured the period and the regal (though I think the walls with empty picture frames are a mistake).
David Haig is terrific as George III and is in my view the real reason for seeing this revival. His transition from pompous but lovable to manic & disturbed and back again is a tour de force which is always captivating and occasionally thrilling. Perhaps because the character and performance of the King are so dominant, the rest of the ensemble make less impact and few stand out. I did like Christopher Keegan’s Prince of Wales, though it is a touch too much caricature, and Nicholas Rowe’s Pitt.
Haig’s performance will be a highlight of 2012, which is a good enough reason to go, so do!
- Gareth James
22 Feb 12
I sometimes wonder wether the critics go to the same play! This is a superb production, accurately portraying a descent into the cruellest of mental incapacity, and how that is received/or not, by those around. Well done all of you - Alice
08 Feb 12
can only agree 100% with all of the above! - Ruth
08 Feb 12
the energy that David Haig puts into this role is amazing. Loved every minute of it and would thoroughly recommend. - Ann
01 Feb 12
David Haig gives a staggering, mighty and phenomenal performance as George - this is acting of the highest class and calibre! Excellent supporting cast, one of the best plays I've EVER SEEN! Go see! - gem
31 Jan 12
A superb production and as always David Haig relishes in these sort of mad OTT characters and here he really is in top form and hope he gets a nomination for this next year. Beattie Edney also very good as Queen Charlotte and a great supporting cast. - Joe Spiteri
29 Jan 12
This is a production of perfection. David Haig is spell-bindingly magnificent as King George III and is backed up by an excellent cast. Haig begins the play fabulously as a happy ‘Mr King’ who exudes knowledge and authority, before his mind starts abandoning him. The King’s decent into madness is so powerful and brilliantly acted it is truly heart-wrenching, uncomfortable viewing which leaves you squirming in your seat.
The staging is plain yet striking and the music, particularly the use of Handel’s ‘Zadok the Priest’, adds emotion and gravitas to the production. It’s a play which will have you both laughing and bring tears to your eyes .
It received a well deserved standing ovation and (never before experienced in a historical play) a huge round of applause for Haig. The staging, design and most of all acting, comes together perfectly for a stunning piece of theatre. Simply superb. - Ellie
27 Jan 12
Loved it. Five star acting from David and a superb supporting cast. A must see production. - ils
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