David Haig who has just been nominated for Best Performance in a Play at the TMA Awards star as King George III. This production of the play is directed by Christopher Luscombe and made it's debut as part of the 2011 Peter Hall Season at the Theatre Royal Bath on 24th August and is now touring theatres in the UK before Chichester in November.
Originally the play was staged at the National Theatre in 1991 starring Nigel Hawthorne who then went on to be Oscar nominated for his tour de force performance of the king in the 1994 film.
David Haig has always wanted to take on the role and has said that it is the character scale and humanity that makes the role so special. "he play starts on a high, with the supremacy of the royal family in the 18th century and the influence the monarchy had on parliament. Then the King folds into this pathetic insanity in the middle of the play and becomes distressed but also funny. That’s the great thing about Alan Bennett, who wrote the play, he’s always funny, even at his most tragic. Although the King goes to this low point he then recovers so it’s a great journey for any actor and hopefully any audience. It doesn’t end on a depressing note because, if it was porphyria, which is historically what people think the King had, he went into a long period of remission after this madness and didn’t have another relapse for about 10 years.
George III was the third Hanoverian king of Great Britain. He studied science and founded the Royal Academy of Arts. He is best remembered today for his bouts of unbridled lunacy. Subjected to the appallingly cruel medical treatment of the day and assailed by power struggles between politicians and his scheming son, George remains throughout a sympathetic character – melancholy, moving, witty, and finally triumphant.
David Haig has numerous stage credits including the recent West End hit Yes, Prime Minister and he won an Olivier Award for My Country’s Good. Other screen credits include The Thick of It, The Thin Blue Line and Four Weddings and a Funeral.
He is joined by Clive Francis as Doctor Willis. As well as an illustrious career on the stage, including two seasons at the RSC, Francis’ numerous television appearances include David Copperfield, Yes, Prime Minster and The Queen. He was last at the Theatre Royal in Autumn starring in the political thriller and West End hit Enron. Other confirmed cast members are Beatie Edney and Madhav Sharma.
Following The Madness of King George III is Eugene O'Neill's A Long Day's Journey Into Night starring David Suchet which plays its first preview on 3 April.
What the critics said:
‘***** Insanely good. David Haig is magnificent as Alan Bennett’s troubled George III. …. A powerful cast’ - Sunday Telegraph
‘**** David Haig is superb as George III … Haig is one of British theatre’s unsung glories’ - Sunday Times
‘The central performance by David Haig is devastating’ - The Times
Book The Madness of King George III tickets online now.
[posted by Louise, 03/10/2011]