13-18 April 2015
Reviewed by Gemma Ingham
I went to see The King’s Speech at the Lyceum Theatre in Sheffield. Having never visited this theatre before it was easy to find following the signs. Sheffield Theatres have an agreement with Q-Park on Arundel Gate so theatre goers can get a reduced rate on their parking, and there is on street disabled parking very close by.
Upon arriving at the Lyceum the Box Office is directly on the left and collecting our tickets was a breeze. The staff were helpful, telling us where to go and because I was using a walking stick advised me on whether the route ahead involved steps or not.
As I’m sure most people have, I had already seen the film version of The King’s Speech and loved it, and could see how it would adapt to stage.
The play stars Jason Donovan as Lionel Logue, and Raymond Coulthard as King George VI – otherwise known as Bertie.
The King’s Speech tells the story of Bertie who finds himself thrust into the position of King – a position he never wanted mostly due to the stammer that has afflicted him most of his life. His wife attempts to seek help for him and comes across Lionel Logue, an Australian trying to make his way as an actor and failing miserably. Logue also practices as a speech therapist and after much to-ing and fro-ing takes on the King as a patient using his unconventional methods. Their relationship develops to more than just therapist and patient and they find they end up as friends.
Coulthard plays Bertie as very sensitive and likeable, yet arrogant and ignorant to the life of the ‘common man’. Logue is charismatic, straight talking and refuses to be blinded by the King’s status, insisting on treating him as an equal. The results are often heartwarming and tense, yet hilarious.
The wives of the two main characters also play a large part in the play and in Lionel and Bertie’s relationship. From Elizabeth, who initially seeks out the help for her husband, to Myrtle who struggles with the fact that Lionel’s relationship with Bertie means she may not be able to go home to Australia. The women are strong characters and Myrtle, played by Katy Stephens, is a direct opposite to Elizabeth.
I particularly liked Queen Elizabeth played by Claire Lams, regal and poised yet easy to relate to as a woman who only wants to support her husband. Her quips and dry sense of humour kept me chuckling throughout.
As for the set – I thought it was unique yet functional. There were no major scene changes. Instead, I can only describe the backdrop as a curved wall of panels with doors and windows that open and change depending on where the characters are located for that scene, or who needs to enter or exit the stage. It really is a fantastic setup and allows for seamless scene changes with minimal fuss or interruption to the play.
I can’t rate The King’s Speech highly enough. I can honestly say I was engrossed throughout the entire play. I found myself not wanting it to end and give it a huge 5 out of 5.
Tickets cost from £15 to £28 (transaction fee may apply).
The King’s Speech is at the Lyceum Theatre in Sheffield until 18 April 2015. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 0114 249 6000.
Sheffield Theatres, 55 Norfolk Street, Sheffield, S1 1DA | Box Office 0114 249 6000