• Date:
    Monday, October 20, 1997

    Following the abdication from the throne, David (this is the name that Edward liked to be called) and Wallace Simpson went to live in France. However, during the war, as the Germans advanced on France, it was decided by the British that the Duke should leave the county and become the Governor of the Bahamas.

    David was a Nazi sympathiser who was friends with Hitler. David had ideas that if Germany won the war then he may be offered the chance to be King of Nazi England, with Wallace as Queen. While in the Bahamas, David was successful in transferring all his money to a German bank in Mexico and he also made friends with some undesirable and crooked people. It is alleged that when one of his friends killed a man, the Duke of Windsor tried to protect him by framing another man.

    Snoo Wilson has painted a very different picture to that which was done by the writers of the musical 'Always' at the Victoria Palace a few months ago. While the musical concentrated on the positive side of their relationship, this play certainly look's at the dark side. The Duke of Windsor is portrayed as a weak and silly man, and Wallace as a scheming, selfish woman.

    I have to admit to liking the musical better than the play, although the play is probably more truthful. However, it is a dull play with a cast of just two. It needed a bigger cast to give it more depth as the writing is not strong enough to sustain two people on stage talking to each other for two hours. There are a few witty lines and a few interesting conversations but generally I found it too slow and not captivating enough.

    The acting was excellent from both Corin Redgrave as 'The Duke Of Windsor' and Amanda Donohoe as 'Wallace Simpson'. Mind you, I did feel that Amanda's accent didn't quite sound right, but this did not distract from her convincing performance.

    The play has not received very good notices from the popular press. JOHN PETER of THE SUNDAY TIMES says the play needs cutting by about 25 minutes and describes the play as 'verbose' and 'static'. PETER HEPPLE of THE STAGE says more or less he same thing "static beyond belief'. BILL HAGERTY of THE NEWS OF THE WORLD says " HRH remains at best… Half-baked Royal History". NICHOLAS de JONGH of THE EVENING STANDARD says the play is a major let down in history, drama and satirical comedy . However, Steve Grant of TIME OUT is more positive, describing it as " deceptively clever ' and saying the play " deserves to prosper".

    If you are seeing H.R.H, make sure you have a good night's sleep the night before , otherwise you just might fall asleep half way through it!

    (Darren Dalglish)

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