Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

We'll Be First to Hear the King's Speech; Stage Play of Oscar-Winning Film on Its Way to North East

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

We'll Be First to Hear the King's Speech; Stage Play of Oscar-Winning Film on Its Way to North East

Article excerpt

Byline: David Whetstone

HIT film The King's Speech won four Oscars and seven Baftas - and now the play that inspired it is to be staged in Newcastle ahead of a run in London's West End.

The real-life story of the stammering George VI and rough diamond Aussie speech therapist Lionel Logue, who cured him, was originally destined for the stage.

But veteran screenwriter David Seidler was happy for it to reach the big screen in 2010 after holding the project close to his heart for more than 30 years.

Now, though, audiences will have the chance to see it on stage in a theatre with flesh-and-blood actors in the challenging roles of the monarch and his speech therapist.

Directed by Adrian Noble, former artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, the stage version of The King's Speech will tour six regional theatres, including the Theatre Royal in Newcastle, from February next year.

Playing the stammering monarch, a role which earned the film world's biggest prizes for Colin Firth, will be Charles Edwards, who excelled as Richard Hannay in an award-winning production of The 39 Steps in London and on Broadway. Cast as Logue - who was played by Geoffrey Rush in the film - will be Australian-born Jonathan Hyde, who has appeared several times in Newcastle with the RSC, most recently alongside Sir Ian McKellen in King Lear.

The producers - Playful Productions and Michael Alden Productions - said they were delighted to announce the world premiere production of the original play of The King's Speech.

Philip Bernays, chief executive of the Theatre Royal, said: "It's quite unusual to have a world premiere of a play that has already been a film but we are delighted it's coming here.

"I think it will be a success here because it's a great story and it's also a very intimate story about the relationship between these two men. …

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