Thursday, September 28

The King’s Speech – Frinton Summer Theatre

Most people will know ‘The King’s Speech’ as the Oscar winning film with Colin Firth, but the writer David Seidler, originally came up with the idea as a play. As a boy, Seidler himself suffered from a stammer, and the fact King George VI also suffered a speech impediment was a source of huge creative interest.

The story is mainly set in the 1930s as King George V comes to the end of his reign and his eldest son abdicates to marry the American divorcee, Wallis Simpson. Bertie (Duncan Wilkins) is thrust into the position of being crowned King George VI. The challenge being, Bertie, was rather hoping for a quieter royal life, and his debilitating stammer leaves him open to the charge of not being suitable to rule as a King. Set against the backdrop of mounting political tensions in Europe and the lead up the Second World War heighten the stakes further. Will Bertie be seen as fit to rule?

Enter Lionel Logue (Alan Cox) an Australian wanna-be Shakesperean actor who thinks he can cure the King of his speech disorder. What transpires is a study in success, self-confidence and belief as these two men embark on a journey into speech therapy which far transcends normal convention. Wilkins and Cox have obvious chemistry and their on-stage friendship shows the need for trust and humility. Their wives, the Duchess of York (Sarah Lambie) and Myrtle Logue (Lucy Robinson) are wonderful supports and highlight the tensions that exist within relationships and the pursuit of love.

It’s fascinating how history and current situations collide. We now have a King, a Prince who left for his American wife, an ongoing war in Ukraine and a rise in extreme politics. The current monarchy and their relevance are subject to constant scrutiny. And one can only wonder how they will fare in the future as the public demand more and more access to their lives.  

‘The King’s Speech’ is not only a charming play about relationships, it is also a remarkable study of oneself and one’s relationship to society. In this age of social media, presentation is everything and this production fares well in the age of the relentless selfie and living one’s best life.

‘Fake it till you make it’ is the name of the game, and we learn from ‘The King’s Speech’ with the right person by your side and the right training, you can make it – whether royal or not!

This production is the first of the 2023 Frinton Summer Theatre season and it’s a solid start to what looks set to be an exciting variety of shows located in this quaint town by the sea.

Playing until 15th July,

Reviewer: Samantha Collett

Reviewed: 11th July 2023

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.