— John Fernandez contributed with this report.
The Madness of George III promises to be a fantastic show and has already been given high praise amongst the theatre community. Actress Susan Penhaligon is well known in her roles as Jean Hope in “Emmerdale” and as Prue Sorenson in “A Bouquet of Barbed Wire” and will be starring in the play.
Penhaligon’s role in the play is that of Queen Charlotte, the wife of the somewhat deranged King George, her identity in the play is that of the morale cornerstone — the sane stable woman trying desperately to stay attached to normality. Whilst the original film in 1994 staring Helen Mirren may have been a hard drama, detailing a descent into madness of an old man this play has a twist. Penhaligon says it “has a much funnier spin on it then the film, without losing the drama of the original piece”.
She was full of praise for the writer, Alan Bennett. “He is a very clever writer there is no doubt about that, he has done a lot to give to play a political element as well,” she said.
As well as having a good script, she was without doubt that the experienced partnership of her and Simon Ward has helped the play come to life. “It’s not the first play me and Simon have worked on together, and I feel as a paring we do connect well,” she said.
She was also quick to mention her admiration of the young director Alastair Whatley: “I love young directors like Alastair he is ambitious and very determined and I can see him going very far.”
Penhaligon has come back into acting after a time out writing and promoting her book “For Love of an Angel”. When asked if there is anything new in the pipeline, she said: “I’m in the process of writing another book. It’ll be set in Cornwall again, but this time it’s a little more sinister, it’s about a serial killer.”
Whilst she admitted there is “always pressure” in a play like this, that has been adapted from such a well-loved film, Penhaligon believes the company has definitely stepped up to the mark, giving the production their own spin.
She admits that she did do a lot of research on the part which gave her great background to the role, and that while her character, the Queen, is often seen knitting on stage — it doesn’t stop there. “I knit on and off stage all the time. The cast is putting in orders now for what I should make next. I’m working on a scarf right now.”
The show will be performed at LPAC on October 29th and 30th, tickets are still available from the box office for £10, £8 for concessions.Tweet