Originally written in 1991 by Alan Bennett, author of The History Boys and Talking Heads, The Madness of George III follows the events in the life of King George III, whose behaviour is becoming increasingly erratic.
The Madness of George III features a cast of 15, including stars Simon Ward, from Zulu, and Susan Penhaligon known for her role in Bouquet of Barbed Wire – both of who put in excellent performances, especially Simon Ward whose monologues were word-perfect.
The script itself has been well-written to combine drama, politics and comedy into a play that is not only entertaining, but also educational. The insults that featured such as: “Spunk splatter” and King George’s need to “pass wind” provided a number of laughs amongst details of the military conflicts King George led the United Kingdom into.
Whilst watching the play, it quickly became apparent that it was developed with a limited budget. The prop usage was restricted with the same table and chairs repeatedly being used for numerous objects; the stage curtains looked more like curtains you’d find in a house; the majority of the cast consumed multiple roles, causing slight confusion; and the poorly-designed plastic wigs weren’t entirely convincing.
Nevertheless, the remainder of the costume design was to a good standard, realistically portraying the fashion sense evident within the 18th century and, trust me, that is one look that will never come back into fashion.
Overall, despite its obvious limitations with the budget, The Madness of George III was a thoroughly enjoyable play. The stunning acting performances from its stars and the fantastic script-writing from Alan Bennett ensure the play is to a good standard. If you enjoy your history, The Madness of George III is definitely for you.Tweet