The Crown Dual is a clever, deep belly-laughing inducing play that comes to London after an incredibly successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
And Wilton’s Music Hall seems like the perfect setting. The old, charmingly weathered theatre is exactly where the royals should be poked fun at. The historic family fit well within the heritage listed building.
It’s where Rosie Holt (Beth), a budding actress, reimagines the first two seasons of Netflix’s The Crown, in the hope that she can get herself onto the show. She’s joined by her agent (Stanley), played by Brendan Murphy, who supports her through this dramatic rendition – all the while playing just about every other character in the series.
But there’s plenty of audience participation here too – you’ve been warned. Those afraid of such antics should avoid the front row. Those in search of the limelight should book those seats early.
And this breaking of the fourth wall is done brilliantly. Far from being naff and awkward. They slowly build it up, getting everyone in the audience behind Beth’s struggle, even as she fights with her agent Stanley throughout.
And the purposeful theatrical incompetence of the actors marries perfectly with the Royals too. Beth and Stanley quibble just as you’d imagine the Queen and Prince Phillip would – from his desperate grasps for attention to his many awkward social moments in front of the press.
The Crown series gives people a look behind the scenes of major political events, imaging what things were like for the Windsors. But, somehow, this comedic parody feels more real. We much preferred the slight camp and childish Duke of Edinburgh throwing hissy fits all over the stage as his wife got all the attention. And the Queen’s total dismissal of her sister just seems far more real than The Crown’s interpretation of events. Or at least it’s how we’d prefer to see them – the Royals as flawed commoners.
And much of the success comes down to Daniel Clarkson who wrote the script. He’s known for being the co-creator of Olivier Award-nominated Potted Potter and Potted Panto – bringing his own take on the parody genre.
And you don’t need to have watched The Crown series to enjoy this brilliant spectacle of nonsensical royal mishaps. But loyal royalists, on the other hand, might prefer the more flattering Netflix series. For no character from the show is spared here. Anyone, even members of the audience are possible targets.