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The Madness of George III a Royal Triumph

Friday, 24 November 2017

This week saw the Drama Department put of their rendition of 'The Madness of George III'. Sixth Former Nicholas reviewed the play.

The Madness of George III is an affecting play. Alan Bennett shows the once lucid king’s descent into porphyria-induced insanity, a condition unknown at the time. The royal figure’s wretched decline provokes a storm of intrigue in Parliament, as the opposition plot ceaselessly to depose him. It is a difficult play, requiring complex and impassioned performances.

Under Miss Dobson’s direction, the production was visually marvellous. The gorgeously lavish and sometimes alarming bleak sets scarcely needed the aid of a cleverly used back projection, while the sumptuous period dress was deeply impressive, the omnipresent wigs gratifyingly professional. The script shone with witty insertions, and the prowess of the lighting technicians was put to use with exhilarating washes of colour and brilliantly timed passages of Handel.

It is, however the standard of acting that defines a play. Sixth Former David’s study of the suffering King George was deeply affecting, as he reduced the audience to helpless laughter and transfixed them with frenzied rages by turns. Sixth Former Will played an intimidating counterpoint as the cool and controlling Dr Willis, while Georgia from CLSG gave a nuanced performance as Queen Charlotte, conveying the personal cost of the King's insanity. Long-standing CLS actor Vinusan graced the Winterflood Theatre once more with a dignified rendition of the staunch and long-suffering Prime Minister, William. Oscar’s delightfully craven Thurlow will not be forgotten, nor Jamie’s Dr Warren and his hilarious troupe of inept physicians.

The standard of acting was exceptional throughout, and the ensemble showed the dramas and intrigues of court subtly and expressively. Even the stagehands are to be congratulated on their remarkable precision and speed, dismantling and removing an entire bed in a matter of seconds. In short, the Madness of George III was an outstanding production; those involved surpassing themselves and all expectations.

The lavish yet sometimes bleak sets allowed for the period dress and omnipresent wigs to really stand out.
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