Crown Dual by Daniel Clarkson. The King’s Head Theatre, London N1. 4**** William Russell

By Daniel Clarkson
The King’s Head Theatre, 115 Upper Street, Islington, London N! 1QN to 6 April, 2019.
Tues-Sat 7pm. Mat Sun 3pm.
Runs 75mins No interval.
TICKETS: 0207 226 8561
Review: William Russell 15 March

A happy and glorious and also hilarious reign

The history that is The Queen as shown on Netflix is sent up deliciously in this two hander about the early life of Elizabeth Windsor. It is very funny, if not the most subtle of send ups but is blessed with a delightful performance from Rosie Holt as Beth Buckingham, all pearls, tweeds and polite but slightly baffled smiles. Her rise to the throne is charted nicely, notes what Netflix leave out, and leaves no doubt that our beloved nonagenarian monarch is someone not to be trifled with. Backing her up as everybody else is Brendan Murphy , persuasive as her agent Stanley Diamond – Beth is an actress who tried to audition for The Crown – and devastatingly petty as the Duke of Edinburgh who spends the evening demanding ice cream, throwing the toys out of his pram, and calling for a title other than Duke as well as having his wife adopt the married name of Mountbatten. He also plays Princess Margaret rather less successfully, but his Churchill is memorable as his his stuttering George V1. It slightly outstays its welcome – a little more attention to the source being parodied might have paid more dividends – but there are good moments in plenty. They include one lovely moment towards the end when Beth the actress is demanding more of the action and she is firmly told that is an Olivia Colman moment. She is trying to replace Claire Foy. She also has a nice rebuke to the Duke who complains that his son Charles as a Prince outranks him, replying that he is a 12 year old boy and that is all they do. It depends on how you say it. But best of all is when the royal corgis appear to pass their verdict on the royals.
Crown Dual is a series of revue sketches loosely strung together which provide opportunities for Holt, who has an endearing manner, and Murphy, who is a leggy marvel dashing in and out to keep the action going, to embark on all sorts of ploys, many of which involve the audience. The coronation has to be seen to be belived. As a parody of The Crown it is not really all that great, but in its own right it is a rib tickling way to start a night out which has been directed at just the right pace by Owen Lewis. You need to keep the balls in the air if this sort of theatre piece is to work and he and his cast do just that.

Beth Buckingham: Rosie Holt.
Brendan Murphy: Stanley Diamond.

Director: Owen Lewis.
Designer: Lee Newby.
Lighting Designer: Robbie Butler.
Sound Designer: James Nicholson.
Production Photographs: Geraint Lewis.

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