Writer: John Goldsmith
Director: Anthony Biggs
Dudley Goring Comprehensive School is awaiting the arrival of a visitor so important that the entire school is on high alert with nerves and excitement, everyone except Republican Head of Science Derek Jones, whose ‘abolish the monarchy’ stance isn’t quite the right tone for one of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee visits. When a terrorist bomb is planted in the pop-up Portaloo with Jones and the Queen stuck inside, it’s a waiting game, with a duo that nobody saw coming.
Mary Roscoe plays a fabulous Queen, pinning down small mannerisms and behavioural patterns to a tee. Her graceful demeanour and regal stage presence is mixed in with cheeky humour and a splash of silliness to encompass the light-hearted nature of the script. Derek Jones played by Charlie Condou is confident within his role as staunch socialist, delivering his lengthy, intelligent speeches with ease. Their on-stage chemistry works really well together, deliberately hamming up some scenes and lines for comedic effect, while still maintaining a level of stoic separation between them to highlight the extreme differences in their lifestyles.
While the discourse between the two actors is well paced, and delivered with ease to the audience, the sycophantic script, written by John Goldsmith, errs on the side of monarchy fan mail. Even though there are a few anti-royalist and critique of the crown speeches, they’re quickly watered down by Goldsmith’s obvious adoration and adulation for the Windsors. The appeal in such a ridiculously over the top, farcical scenario is also in the personality, ideology and background clash between the two characters, but the contrast gets lost within many scenes, losing any potential substance and instead becoming easy, middle class, light entertainment.
There are lots of opportunities within this performance to really heighten either the comedic value or the political disparity, but instead it teeters in the middle and plays it a bit too safe, making the whole show disappointingly royally average. Although the cast is talented, and the script is sufficiently well written, it still falls flat without having the extra edge to really stand out.
With 2022 being the monumentally historic year of the Queen’s platinum Jubilee, when better to premiere a comedic show about her Royal Highness getting stuck in a toilet cubicle. Straightforward fun for Anglophiles and her royal subjects alike.
Runs until 30 July 2022