I saw the new play about the royals with Meghan and Harry as hippies and the audience laughed so hard it struggled for breath – Rebecca Russell
As someone leaving the theatre at the same time as me so eloquently, put it: “It’s like a really rude pantomime.”
I’m getting ahead of myself here – let me explain.
But before I do, allow me to remove my sincere and impartial royal correspondent hat and confess just how much I enjoyed The Windsors: Endgame.
READ MORE: ‘I ate like the Queen for a day and it was so magical I can’t wait to do it again’
So as I alighted at Leicester Square and climbed the steps to the street above, my mind was abuzz wondering what the show would be like. Would I enjoy it? Would it be too on-the-nose? Will the audience laugh at some of the more risqué topics?
Arriving at the fittingly named Prince of Wales theatre opposite M&M World, I had my ticket scanned and went to find my seat. F25 what luck! I was smack bang in the front of the stage just a few rows back.
Shuffling my way along the red carpet towards my seat I was greeted by a positive cacophony of classical music and the excitable chatter of the waiting crowd.
The lights were soon dimmed and those who are familiar with the Channel 4 TV show would immediately recognise who appeared from behind the dark blue curtain.
Prince Edward (Matthew Cottle) snuck out to tell us all about what we had in store. He made jokes about his time as a tea boy in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Theatre Company, and about the confusion over him becoming the Duke of Edinburgh.
And that is one element of the show that I think made it particularly special; it almost felt that the show was being re-written and re-adapted every night to keep it on the pulse with royal news.
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Following a flourish of fanfare, we are introduced to Harry Enfield’s Prince Charles – excuse me, King Charles III, as this has taken place following Queen Elizabeth’s fictitious abdication.
He strolls onto the stage to greet Prince William (Ciarán Owens) and Kate (Kara Tointon) – huge prosthetic ears in tow and clad in full regalia with the Imperial State Crown balanced on his head.
Shortly behind him is Camilla. She is portrayed by screen and stage legend Tracy-Ann Oberman as a chain-smoking, gin-swigging, power-obsessive, Disney villain-style evil Queen.
Oberman was entirely sublime as the Duchess of Cornwall. From her Elizabethan-style tirades where she declares feudalism on the country to her Cell Block Tango-inspired solo, I was enraptured at her every utterance.
Unsurprisingly for those who are pre-existing fans of the original show, the absolute screen-stealers were Princess Beatrice (Jenny Rainsford) and Princess Eugenie (Eliza Butterworth).
Whether it is making jokes about collapsing under the weight of their trademark fascinators or singing about Prince Andrew’s (Tim Wallers) involvement with Jeffery Epstein or twerking to the National Anthem, they undoubtedly got some of the biggest laughs.
Then the moment arrived where I was most eager to see the audience’s reaction. Prince Harry (Tom Durant-Pritchard) and Meghan (Crystal Condie) appear dressed in flowing white, surrounded by plants and yoga portraits, recording an episode of their Archewell podcast.
Before they even opened their mouths, the woman behind me was laughing so hard that she was gasping for breath. As for the dialogue, well it was just as you would expect- filled to the brim with references to spirituality, mantras, avocados, Goop vagina candles, wheatgrass smoothies, and the couple’s famous rescue chickens.
Following a song and dance by Will and Kate – with the latter wearing an incredibly scantily clad glittery Union Jack basque – they arrive in LA to reunite with Harry and Meghan.
Back in the UK, Camilla appears in front of an 11th century-style feasting table, kitted out with meat pies and a suckling pig to be entertained by her court jester – who is none other than Prince Andrew.
Making reference to his infamous BBC Newsnight interview, he joked about how he can’t be involved with the Epstein scandal because he was at a Pizza Express in Woking and how after the Falklands War he lost the ability to sweat.
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Now, never did I ever think I would be able to refer to Prince Edward as a pantomime dame but here we are. He got the audience to boo Camilla and taunted her, saying: “You’ve only got one O-Level…” it was so much like a Christmas pantomime that I was waiting for the classic ‘he’s behind you’ gaff.
As part two got underway, Charles takes on the staunch belief in the Divine Right of Kings and begins to echo the madness that his 4x great-grandfather King George III displayed.
We also see everything from Prince Andrew being drilled in legal lessons by Beatrice, to a royal snog-off and the ‘Fab Four’ living in an exile yurt outside of Sherwood Forest.
While some of the topics were slightly sordid and something that many of us wouldn’t dare to make jokes about, it was entirely satirical and tongue-in-cheek. From the witty script to getting swept up in the slapstick comedy, it was a great big breath of fresh air.
Much in the same way that you would laugh and allow your inner child to take over you at a pantomime, it didn’t matter that people were laughing at the presentation of Prince Charles as a homoeopathic-obsessive or that Kate’s portrayal as a “gypsy” who could “open you up like a tin of beans” because it is so outlandish and so farcical that you forget it is based on real-life people.
And with a pop of gold confetti, the show was done.
Just a few hours have passed since I left the theatre at time of writing and it is fair to say that my cheeks are still sore from supporting my enormous Cheshire Cat grin as I marvelled at the wondrous creation that is The Windsors: Endgame.
I can’t wait to return!
The show is at Prince of Wales Theatre until October 9.
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