A Princess Undone
20th Feb to 17th March 2018
“It’s not easy being a princess”
“Kensington Palace, 1993. She was the Diana of her day. That day has gone, but HRH The Princess Margaret has a
final chance to be of service. Acquiring sensational letters from Charles and Diana, she means to burn them all. But there are other papers, relating to Margaret herself. And when an ex-gangster admirer returns from her past, the Queen’s sister has the choice to make or break her family yet again.
In Netflix’s acclaimed global hit series, The Crown, Margaret (Vanessa Kirby) re-emerged as the most controversial and enigmatic member of the Royal Family. Craig Brown’s recent best-selling Ma’am Darling reinforces how infuriating yet compelling her story still is. A Princess Undone – inspired by actual events – sheds new light on the last real princess.”
The play’s concept is wonderful – conversations behind closed doors of Kensington Palace, privvy to HRH Princess Margaret. Yes, the one with the scandals: boyfriends, parties, frolicking in the Dominion Republic on beaches and yachts. How delicious!
However, with a butler on loan from The Queen Mother running in and out making overly-familiar comments and overly-camp gestures it becomes rather unbelievable.
There’s a racketeer in the form of Tristan Peel (played by Alexander Knox) who arrives at the Palace and blags his way into the Princess’ living room. Really? He’s dressed in suede shoes, jeans, shirt, old fashioned bow tie and dinner jacket. Tristan apparently has a very strange dress sense (costumes by Boo Williams). Allegedly he came straight from “The Gasworks” – which isn’t really explained but I’d assume is a house of ill-repute where men pick up men and the talk is overly unguarded. The Princess attempts to seduce and actually dances with this young man rather than calling for the guards.
Although we’re in the Princess’ Palace there are no chandeliers, or picture lights, or table lamps. The lighting (Celia Dugua) is all from top down theatre lighting rig which has no interior feel to it.
The Sound (Gareth McLeod) is intrusive – the rain being very loud and starting and stopping quite rapidly.
There is very little in way of a plot, just a character study of Princess Margaret who never stops swinging from amiable to confrontational with every encounter.
Unfortunately a clumsy production that struggles to find realism and under-achieves its potential.
Review by Richard Lambert (2 Stars)
The cast is led by Felicity Dean as HRH The Princess Margaret, with rising young actor Alexander Knox (It Is Easy
To Be Dead), the play’s author Richard Stirling as the Queen Mother’s butler William Tallon (aka ‘Backstairs Billy’),
and Patrick Toomey (RSC) as the infamous John Bindon.
Director – Jonny Kelly
Set Designer – Norman Coates
Costumes – Boo Williams
Sound – Gareth McLeod
Lighting – Celia Dugua
Produced by Entico Ltd in association with Park Theatre
Entico Ltd in association with Park Theatre present
A PRINCESS UNDONE
by Richard Stirling
London N4 3JP
Tuesday 20 February – Saturday 17 March 2018
Tuesdays – Saturdays at 7.45pm
Thursday and Saturday matinees at 3.15pm
20 – 27 Feb
Child (Under 16) £13*
*Subject to availability. T&Cs apply