Last Updated on September 20, 2021
A mischievous antidote to The Crown
Inspired by the ongoing tabloid soap opera, George Jeffrie and Bert Tyler-Moore’s Channel 4 Sitcom The Windsors poked post-watershed fun at the British royal family’s penchant for scandal. Brought to the stage by director Michael Fentiman, whose delightful adaptation of Amélie is also on right now at The Criterion, The Windsors: Endgame is the mischievous antidote to any remaining sentimentality one might feel towards our Royals following 4 seasons of Netflix’s The Crown.
Carried over from the TV version of the Windsors are the writers, the aforementioned Jeffrie and Tyler-Moore, along with Harry Enfield’s Prince Charles, Tom Durant-Pritchard’s Prince Harry, Tim Waller’s Prince Andrew and Matthew Cottle’s Prince Edward, all of whom slip back into their roles with ease. Joining this cast is Tracy-Ann Oberman, who you may recognise as having killed Dirty Den on Eastenders in 2005. She takes on the role of the villainous Camilla from Haydn Gwynne which she plays with diabolical relish.
The production starts as it means to go on with irreverence and silliness with the Queen abdicating, Cottle’s Edward then emerges in front of the curtain and imparts tidbits from Theatreland with glee. He also adds a touch of panto charm to a production unafraid of audience interaction. Once Madeleine Girling’s set is revealed, the decadent Windsor and new-age Malibu are both represented dynamically, it also holds a few surprises that the ensemble, and Edward, can reveal slickly throughout the production.
And the plot trots along at quite a pace, while still allowing time for a few musical theatre style numbers and confidently performed fight scenes. Following Charles’ coronation, Camilla plots to take more power and split up the ‘Fab Four’, William, Kate, Harry and Meghan, for good. Jeffrie and Tyler-Moore excel at clever rhymes, ‘Woking’ and ‘groping’ spring to mind, no prizes who they’re talking about, although it still leaves space for some more sincere numbers, a grand Les Mis style piece provides an emotional ending to the first half.
Photo by Marc Brenner
Eliza Butterworth and Jenny Rainsford’s Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, who is who I couldn’t tell you, bring big laughs with their straight out of Sloane Square accents and Kara Tointon’s Kate stuns, carrying a couple of impressive song and dance numbers.
The Windsors’ very own Macbeth couple in Enfield’s Charles and Oberman’s Camilla are both supremely enjoyable to watch, hamming it up as bumbling and devious respectively. Oberman also provides an especially wicked solo number that she performs with sly viciousness.
Any fan of the programme will recognise a few running jokes, as will anyone up to date on royal gossip and pop culture. The Windsors: Endgame is unafraid of many taboos, while still managing to be cosy and to end on a suitably satisfying note. Following George Jeffrie’s untimely death last year, this project is the last that he worked on. It is unclear in what form The Windsors will continue, but this production provides a suitable finale while also being a fun, and blue, night out for anyone looking for a right royal romp.The Windsors: Endgame is on for a limited run until the 9th of October.
The Prince of Wales Theatre,
London W1D 6AS
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