A reviews round-up for Queen Anne at the Theatre Royal Haymarket
Helen Edmundons’ enthralling story of power and betrayal at the court of Queen Anne, one of England’s little known sovereigns, has opened in the West End.
First seen at the RSC in Stratford Upon-Avon, the production transfers to the Theatre Royal Haymarket, with Emma Cunniffe (The Crucible, Great Expectations) as Queen Anne and Romola Garai (The Hour, One Day), as Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, child hood friend and scheming confidant.
Read our round-up of reviews below
Queen Anne runs until 30 September 2017 at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, London
"A fascinating history play with uncanny modern parallels"
“Director Natalie Abrahami could usefully instruct the ensemble to bellow their lines a bit more: it’s a long way up to the gallery”
Dominic Cavendish, The Telegraph
"Romola Garai is a sensational schemer in gripping history play" "Helen Edmundson’s account of the power struggle between the pious monarch and her ambitious friend Sarah Churchill is a rousing hymn to female agency”
“Garai offers an excellent mix of slyness and sensuality, and she is strongly matched by Emma Cunniffe as the obdurate, pious Anne. The rare pleasure, however, lies in seeing a history play in which two determined women are engaged in a battle for power; you have to go back to Schiller’s Mary Stuart or Robert Bolt’s Vivat! Vivat! Regina for comparable examples.”
“Edmundson’s strength lies in capturing the contrast between the two formidable women at her story’s centre. “
Michael Billington, The Guardian
Too much politics and not enough passion in worthy herstory lesson"
“This new work by Helen Edmundson paints a picture of an uneven friendship, intimate in a schoolgirl fashion perhaps, but later something close to toxic”
Ann Treneman, The Times
"Romola Garai and Emma Cunniffe shine in this intelligent hit play from the Royal Shakespeare Company"
“Writer Helen Edmundson offers such gripping narrative momentum that those who are no experts in lesser-known English monarchs certainly won’t feel excluded”
Fiona Mountford, Evening Standard
"intriguing but sedate"
"The pacing lags in places and Hannah Clark’s dark, wood-panelled set serves to further suck the energy out of a play that seems increasingly confused as to what story it wants to tell"
Natasha Tripney, The Stage
“Romola Garai vividly projects the glamour and manipulative fake warmth of this duplicitous power-behind-the-throne, as Sarah exploits the monarch's schoolgirl crush on her in order to further the career of her military-hero husband and the cause of the Whigs.”
“Emma Cunniffe's excellent Anne is, at first, all embarrassing neediness, shy, sickly and retiring to the point of passive-aggression. But, once crowned, she gradually grows in self-reliance and integrity. ” “I felt that it was rather stiltedly written and offered more of a crash course than inspired drama.”
Paul Taylor, Independent
“Romola Garai is impressively intense in the RSC's historical drama”
“A lack of theatricality: it has the detailed, unhurried pace and tone of three episodes of a TV show plonked on the stage”
“Still, it’s a compelling look at an episode in British history most of us know bugger all about”
Andrzej Lukowski, TimeOut