Review Roundup: THE KING'S SPEECH at the National Theatre - What Did the Critics Think?
David Seidler's original play THE KING'S SPEECH makes its D.C. debut at The National Theatre from February 11-16, 2020. The original play - which inspired the 2010 Oscar-winning film by the same name - marks the eleventh installment in the venue's 2019-2020 Broadway at the National series, which is set to include an unprecedented 17 productions.
Tickets for THE KING'S SPEECH may be purchased at TheNationalDC.com, by calling 1-800-514-3849, or in person at The National Theatre Box Office (Monday-Friday from 12pm-6pm and two hours prior to every performance). The National Theatre is located at 1321 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in downtown Washington, D.C.
Let's see what the critics are saying...
Jennifer Perry, BroadwayWorld: I am happy to say the play - which predates the award-winning 2010 film and has been tweaked since it premiered on London's West End in 2012 - does not tread into the territory that makes me furious. While the historical story features plenty of inspirational moments, Seidler lets the story speak for itself rather than worrying about how to prompt a specific emotional reaction from the audience. While The King's Speech is part human interest story and part political drama, Seidler achieves an enviable balance between the two. We see King George VI (Nick Westrate) as a complete person.
Thomas Floyd, Washington Post: There is something to be said for the uncanny timing of this production, and its skewering of regal decorum, in the wake of the decision by Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, to step back from the royal family. (Bertie's brother David even abdicates the throne because of his love for an American woman.) Yet, the staging remains stale. It's too bad this iteration of "The King's Speech" doesn't have anything new to say.
Evan Haynos, The Diamondback: The play is full of the dry and quick humor you'd expect from a British show, with a number of jokes that play very well given the current state of the royal family. Many of the details of David's decision to leave with a previously-married American woman feel especially relevant in 2020, with the exit of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Playwright David Seidler's intention was hardly to engage in royal family gossip, but instead to tell the tale of a role model - Seidler himself has a stammer. The story has been told in playhouses and movie theaters, making its cinematic debut in 2010 and earning Seidler the Academy Award for best screenplay.
Peter Rosenstein, The Georgetown Dish: The entire cast is good but I found the play does drag a little in the first act. But then all the big action takes place in the second act and the pace picks up dramatically and you leave the theater glad you came to see this show.