Saturday, September 30

The Crown Jewels – Garrick Theatre

The Crown Jewels has opened in London’s West End this summer for a limited run. With its star-studded cast and satirical comedy, this play is an interesting take on the monarch and the true story of Colonel Thomas Blood’s attempt to steal the Crown jewels in 1671.

It is evident from the opening number that this show sets out to mock and provide the audience with humour. Carrie Hope Fletcher opens the show as the Lady of the Bedchamber to King Charles II singing a folk-like song ‘Praise Him’ which draws the audience in. However, it is later unclear whether this show is attempting to be a musical. Fletcher has an undeniable range and belt – the limited songs giving her the opportunity to showcase her impressive talent. Unfortunately, the songs throughout the show felt somewhat misplaced and random, despite being used as transitions between scenes.

What started out as the play heading towards an evident direction of comedy soon moved towards the performance feeling muddled and a little difficult to follow. Some scenes felt overdone and lengthy while other scenes, which would add to the plot, felt cut short. Al Murray as King Charles II performed a lovely monologue segment which was entertaining, powerful and used a wide range of verbal devices. The chemistry created on stage between Murray and Adonis Siddique as his Footman was amusing to witness, Siddique giving his entire being to the smaller part. The audience interaction, in particular felt very unique and improvised, the audience reaction a very positive one. However, some jokes became repetitive and lacked original wit. Mel Giedroyc charmed the audience as a French Noblewoman, her accent work, facial expressions and physicality a real triumph.

Both the staging and set are entirely fitting for a show of this calibre, neither a distraction from the performers on stage, but rather set the scene for the play fully. The sliding panels and grand front door created depth to the stage and allowed the actors to move freely. The costume design cannot be faulted, each costume well-detailed and corresponding to the character. King Charles II’s costume was fabulously regal, while the extravagance of the Crown jewels was interpreted admirably from an audience perspective.

Though this production may spark some curiosity with its popular cast, the humour is narrow and specifically tailored to a small proportion of the audience. While the tale of the Crown jewels almost being stolen is an alluring idea for a show, the plot in this case is slightly lacklustre and contains more than a few scenes that felt like they were only invented to fill time.

The Crown Jewels is currently showing for a limited run at the Garrick Theatre until 16th September 2023 with tickets and more information at

Reviewer: Maani Way

Reviewed: 1st August 2023

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.