NT Live: The Madness Of George III | Ipswich Film Theatre
Directed by Adam Penford, the production is a triumph, particularly for Mark Gatiss in the lead; he brings to the stage astonishing range and power. It appears the king might be going mad. Bennett has him undergoing a mental breakdown, with the loss of America playing heavily on his mind. Not only is the health of the monarch precarious but that of the nation: if George III is declared unfit to rule, the dissolute and profligate Prince of Wales Wilf Scolding will assume the throne.
Disaster looms. One of the symptoms of porphyria is acute sensitivity and blistering of the skin, and the torments of George when he endures the tortures of being cupped are hard to take. You curl up in your seat.
The scenes with these two are magnificent; two powerful actors at their best. The production is cast genderblind as there are only two female roles, the Queen and Lady Elizabeth Sara Powell.
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The set by Robert Jones is all angles and decorated panes, referencing the rigid formality of courtly life. Practically every National Theatre Live offering is a treat. Nothing not to rave about.
NT Live/ The Madness of George III (As Live)
Screening in selected cinemas on 15 December: see www. Liza Dezfouli reviews film, live performance, books and occasionally music.
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She blogs about film and other things in a blog called Copy and Cake and writes another, somewhat less-measured blog about feminism and heteronormativity called WhenMrWrongfeelsSoRight. She can occasionally be seen in shows or in short films. For more: www.
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National Theatre Live: The Madness of George III
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