Lady in the Van

Lady in the Van
Opens 13 November in the UK

Friday, October 06, 2006

More Queen and Alchemist

The reviews for "The Queen" still keep coming in:

From the Washington Post:
"And as Prince Charles, Alex Jennings may not be a dead ringer but he's memorable as a benevolent manipulator, moved by Diana's death yet resolved to use it to curry favor with his future subjects."

Full review: Washington Post

From the Villager:
"The royal family, except for the ineffectual, sly, and emotionally vulnerable Prince Charles (Alex Jennings in an understated, nuanced performance), is unwilling to defer to the people’s treatment of Diana as a popular icon, and refuses to hold a public funeral."

Full review: The Villager

And one more for the Alchemist from London SE1:
"Both Alex Jennings and Simon Russell Beale speak their somewhat grandiose lines with obvious delight and play their con-man roles as broadly as possible. However, Beale's 'cor blimey' accent, interspersed with the 'feigned' speaking voice of his alter ego, the Captain tends to waver. An air of artificiality may have made the Captain's lines even more amusing and after a time, Beale's exaggerated mockney accent tended to grate. In some of his more ridiculous scenes, it almost seemed as though he'd escaped from an Igor (you rang?) audition. Such over the top posturing was highly comical, especially from a renowned actor like Beale, and gave strong indications of his comedic prowess, but nonetheless seemed out of place here.

Jennings' fares better with his attempt at the notoriously difficult London working class accent. However, his 'stereotypes on parade,' characterizations, which range from a California hippy dippy queen, through a ranting and raving Scotsman to all knowing, new age alchemist lose their novelty somewhat as the performance goes on. Only Lesley Manville, in her role as prostitute Dol Common acts with real conviction within the context of her role, right down to her ostrich featured heels and the ladders in her tarty black stockings. Manville somehow manages to keep the feel of her lines referenced with the time they were written, whilst dressed in the sixties toned fashions assigned to her character, and assuming contemporary mannerisms to good comic effect. Despite all the modern trappings, the only thing missing is a strategically placed beauty spot. It is as if the actress had been swept into the present day from the seventeenth century unflinching, whilst batting her long eyelashes.

However, despite the overall unevenness of their performances, it is still great fun to watch Alex Jennings and Simon Russell Beale, who've never acted together before, savour their ferocious bantering, like a couple of great cats hissing at one another across the stage."

Full review: London SE1

No comments: