National Theatre Live: Madness of George III

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Practically every National Theatre Live offering is a treat. The Madness of George III is an example of the very best of British theatre. Nothing not to rave about.

By George, Mark Gatiss has got it!

Mark Gatiss is mesmerizing to watch.
What’s On Stage

It’s 1786 and King George III is the most powerful man in the world. But his behaviour is becoming increasingly erratic as he succumbs to fits of lunacy. With the King’s mind unravelling at a dramatic pace, ambitious politicians and the scheming Prince of Wales threaten to undermine the power of the Crown, and expose the fine line between a King and a man.

The play widens and contracts from scene to scene, zooming in to excruciatingly intimate scenes of the king’s mental anguish, or of loving companionship with his wife, then rapidly zooming out again in to portray the life of court and politics.

It’s 27 years since Alan Bennett penned the play and it remains as pertinent today, if not more so. There’s been a resurgence of public interest in the royal family, as demonstrated by the success of The Crown on Netflix and the focus on royal weddings. It’s also a particularly interesting time to revive the play, as there has been a change in societal attitudes to mental health since Alan wrote it, particularly over the last few years, and the production team feels it will be fascinating to see how that affects the audience’s response.

Alan Bennett is a wonderful observer of human nature; he holds a mirror up to our society with humility and a sardonic smile. Our fascination with royalty seems to stem from needing to put some people in society on a pedestal, whilst simultaneously trying to expose that they are human like the rest of us. Alan is the perfect match for this national hobby as his incisive exploration of the royals depicts them as normal folk, with all the same complexities of marriage and family life. Audiences love his work because it is witty and sad and they can recognise themselves in his characters.

UK 2018, 169 min, rated M (offensive language)
Includes a 20 min intermission
Live performance stage drama
Directed by Adam Penford
Starring Mark Gatiss, Adrian Scarborough, Debra Gillette, Nadia Albina, Nicholas Bishop, Amanda Hadingue, Jack Holden & David Houndslow

National Theatre Live is an initiative operated by the Royal National Theatre in London, which broadcasts live via satellite, performances of their productions to movie theatres, cinemas and arts centres on the world. We are very lucky at Arthur’s to be able to offer this sensational bit of culture, art and entertainment to you.

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