‘a masterclass in comic timing’
From the moment duo Rosie Holt and Brendan Murphy stepped onto the stage, they were a comic force to behold. Whipping through the key moments in Queen Elizabeth II’s rise to power – with Holt playing the monarch and Murphy a myriad of supporting characters – the pair do well to keep the energy and the laughs going throughout.
Moments of audience interaction throughout the show were particularly well-executed. As one of a rare breed of audience members who actually enjoys audience participation, it was a joy these played out so well – from audience members who played telephone operators, to the glorious climax of Elizabeth’s coronation, which I won’t spoil except to say that the costumes were hilarious and there was singing involved.
Brendan Murphy particularly shined in the show’s interactive moments – including the delightfully unplanned ones. At one point where it seemed a part of the set, a raised stage came apart, Murphy riffed on this with such ease it simply became another laugh amongst many others in the show.
Rosie Holt also showcases her comedic chops throughout. Her heavily hammed-up RP accent alone was enough to keep me consistently amused; though she also had a great sensitivity to which scenes needed to be played with a higher level of commitment, allowing laughs to come about naturally rather than as a result of finding herself or the scene funny (as some comics and comic plays do, to their undoing.)
It did feel that the show may have been just a scene or two too long – it could’ve strongly and successfully ended after the climactic coronation scene. The ensuing scenes dropped the show’s pace a little and didn’t grip me quite as much as all the hilarity that came before it.
Regardless, The Crown Dual is a masterclass in comic timing, showcasing brilliant performances from both its actors. A comedic meditation on our current monarch seems quite well-timed – on its press night, parliament was having its vote on whether or not to delay the Brexit vote, which made seeing the British flag throughout the show particularly potent. But, do not despair – this is a show that’ll make you laugh heartily, even if everything else about the state of the UK right now doesn’t.
The Crown Dual
Presented by James Seabright Productions
Written by Daniel Clarkson
Directed by Owen Lewis
Design by Lee Newby
Lighting Design by Robbie Butler
Performed by Rosie Holt and Brendan Murphy
Box Office: www.kingsheadtheatre.com
Sepy Baghaei is a theatre director originally from Sydney, Australia. She holds an MA in Advanced Theatre Practice from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. @sepy_b