★★★☆☆ | A Princess Undone
Long before Diana, there was a princess who was a definite queens’ queen. Fags, booze, a withering put down and a tragic relationship history: she’d probably have had a lot in common with most of the regulars in your local gay bar. Richard Stirling’s witty play looks at the ageing Margaret in 1993 when she had made a decision to burn the archives and was rooting through old letters and documents, ably assisted by her mother’s camp servant ‘Backstairs’ Billy. Into this picture of domestic disharmony comes an embarrassing old flame who’d she rather forget, gangster John Bindon.
Felicity Dean is a magnificent Margaret and has a stage presence that is sure to make the audience nervously sit up straight and curtsey on the way out. There’s something deliciously terrifying about her. The script is full of searing little one-liners and references to amusing bits of Royal gossip. There’s an amusing thread running through the script about Bindon’s legendary mammoth dick, too. Strangely, though, the play just doesn’t really work as well as it should. The jokes fall flat and whilst funny it never raises much more than a wry smile. The characters mostly feel a little bit one note and there’s nothing especially revelatory about the play.
If you’re a fan of Margaret (and if you’re not, then what the hell is wrong with you?) then this is a diverting couple of hours at the theatre and worth a look.
Runs until 17.03.18 at the Park Theatre, London