Thursday, February 13, 2020

The King's Speech Theatre Review

Nick Westrate stars in The King's Speech (Photo: Liz Lauren)

A Last Resort

King George V (John Judd, in a riveting, all-too-short performance) declares, "Sitting on thrones is our business." Unfortunately, passing the torch proves troublesome in David Seidler's The King's Speech. One son (Jeff Parker as David) doesn't want it. The other (the eventual King George VI, played by Nick Westrate) can't finish a sentence without stammering. Fear not Blighty. Where there's a will, there's a way; and with the help of an aspiring actor/speech therapist, Westrate's Bertie goes about the arduous task of perfecting the art of speech. It made for a great movie, but director Michael Wilson's version lacks the Oscar-winning film's charm and energy, resulting in a "fine" play, but far from memorable.

202 Words or Less

Westrate takes a while to warm up (midway through the second act) but once he does, he impresses. Even better? Michael Bakkensen (as Lionel) and the aforementioned Judd, who ooze personality, something that's otherwise missing from the production. Maggie Lacey provides a few laughs ("Down goes Princess Elizabeth, up goes Princess Elizabeth) but not enough to lighten the mood. Even the usually daring Kevin Depinet's simple set fails to inspire, leaving us with a familiar story told in a straight forward manner. I was hoping for more.


The King's Speech runs two hours, 15-minutes with an intermission, now through Sunday, February 16th at National Theatre (1321 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW.) Tickets cost $54-$114, and are available for purchase online or by calling 1(800) 514-3849.