The Crown Dual at Wilton’s Music Hall

The Crown Dual, as you may have guessed from the name, is a hilarious 2 person, live-staged parody of Netflix’s hit show, The Crown. This energetic show is completely non-stop for 70 minutes, and the actors never tire. Brendan Murphy plays Stan Diamond, the useless but well-meaning agent of Beth, played by Rosie Holt. As a comedy duo, both actors work beautifully together – each naturally held the audience and I never found myself longing for more actors to tell the story. The show keeps you laughing at all times, full of one liners and puns, my favourite of which being Phillip’s complaint of ‘My son ranks more than I do!’ and Queen Elizabeth’s response of ‘Well of course he does Phillip, he’s a 12 year old boy – that’s all they do!’

Murphy’s comic timing is wonderful – he’s in full character from the moment he enters the room to ‘check the audience have tickets’, awaiting the arrival of the Queen. He does awkward perfectly, overt enough to be funny rather than uncomfortable, but subtle enough to bring a level of realism to a very over-the-top character.

Holt’s accent is wonderful – effortlessly RP when portraying Queen Elizabeth, and sliding into a heightened parody when needed. Beth makes various digs at the actors in The Crown – pointing out a lapse in Claire Foy’s range (she was unable to play a child) to the ‘casting directors’ in the front row and demonstrating how she did it better. The whole show is littered with pop culture references, which work beautifully.

I have to say – unless you know the history of the Royal family well, I think you have to have seen The Crown. I loved the hit Netflix show, so it worked very well for me, but I wouldn’t take anyone who hadn’t seen the show – I think too many jokes would’ve fallen on deaf ears. That being said, if you have seen it, The Crown Dual was packed with inside jokes and references which absolutely made the audience cry with laughter. The sex scene from the perspective of the Corgis was a personal highlight, and there were many such scenes crafted wonderfully to be a hilarious twist on the show.

The audience interaction was the most entertaining part – both Holt and Murphy bantered perfectly with their victims, knowing exactly how to work with the shy and the confident to squeeze the most comedy from every interaction. Bringing the audience up to play certain characters was genius and Porchie, played by a man in the second row, was the best of the evening.

The use of montages and flashbacks were useful and very funny, keeping the plot moving at a suitable pace. My only slight grumble of the show would be the tendency to, very occasionally, lose the pace on their comedy. Instead of leaving the joke in it’s funny peak, some sections were dragged just slightly too long. What would start out as a very funny bit, would then be overdrawn, and start to feel slightly patronising – a bit like a children’s show, where jokes are really hammered in to be sure the audience got them – it staled certain sections, and if the pace were quicker on those, it would’ve been a hilarious assault of funny one liners, quips and scenes

I would definitely recommend the show to any The Crown fans, and look forward to what writer Daniel Clarkson pens next. Rosie Holt and Brendan Murphy are clearly two actors to keep an eye on too, I have confidence they’ll make a formidable pair if they work together in the future.

Review by Mims Melville

The Crown Dual is playing at Wilton’s Music Hall until the 14th September. Find out more and buy tickets here.

If you like this review you might also like my review of Freindsical, Six and Cabaret.

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