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A Princess Undone
31st October 2017 - 4th November 2017
“It’s not easy being a Princess”
Kensington Palace, 1993. She was the Diana of her day. That day has gone. But HRH The Princess Margaret has a final chance to be of service.
Acquiring potentially sensational letters from Charles and Diana, she means to burn them all. But there are other papers, relating to Margaret herself. And when an ex-gangster admirer shows up, the Queen’s sister has the choice to make or break her family yet again.
Inspired by actual events, A Princess Undone visits Malvern Theatres prior to a London run – starring Harriet Thorpe, much loved for her appearances in Absolutely Fabulous and The Brittas Empire (TV) and Calendar Girls (film) as Princess Margaret, with a supporting cast of West End actors.
“Short, sharp and engaging” Andover Advertiser
“a gripping, highly entertaining piece of theatre…. Harriet Thorpe is magnificent as Margaret” Worcester News
Ticket price includes a £1 contribution to our heritage fund.
What an evening! Start 7.30 intermission 8.10. No applause, we did not realise that the intermission was so soon!! Then it was all over by 9pm, with a 20 minute interval !! I visit the theatre frequently throughout the year, but this was unbelievable, not to be repeated! If it goes to London then I wish all those who go luck.
Am sorry for those stalwart actors portraying this saga.
I have just returned home from an extremely disappointing evening watching A Princess Undone. The play was poorly written in my view and in total lasted in total 1 hour and 22 minutes - very poor value for my £18.50. I have no comment regarding the actors and they made the best of the script although some of the language was unnecessary. I have attended over the years many plays/shows at Malvern but this was without doubt a low.
I appreciate the play was based on truth however I had to resort to the internet to make total sense of the whole thing. All in all a very unfortunate choice - I shall be surprised if it makes it to the West End. I am sure along with the rest of the audience I felt sorry for the actors.
We did not enjoy this. It is the first time we have been disappointed at Malvern Theatre - glad we did not pay for more expensive seats. We felt the play did not really match the blurb. The was little substance to it and it fizzled out at the end. Taking into account the subject, some bad language might have been expected, but there was a lot which was unnecessary and there was no warning.
"If I were a man, I would be King" - the sentiments of the Queen's sister, four years her junior, and a situation which led Princess Margaret to be portrayed as the drinking, smoking, flirtatious member of the Royal family. And this is what is depicted in the part-fact, part-fiction play by Richard Stirling, A Princess Undone.
Set in Apartment 1A of Kensington Palace in August 1993, Harriet Thorpe makes a very dramatic entrance on to the stage as the Princess, with David Benson as Billy, the butler to HM The Queen Mother but on this occasion, furtively helping out the Princess to destroy volatile correspondence from her mother's rooms in Clarence House. Across the way are other members of the Royal Family, most notably Diana (subject of many of the letters) - seen as the new Queen but who would be dead within 4 years.
Thorpe plays a very convincing Margaret, strong and dominating in character even when confronted by John Bindon (Charles Daish), a formidable former gangster and actor (and someone who has a particular party trick involving several pint glasses…) who appears to have incriminating pictures of her, one of which has been stolen by Tristan Peel (Giles Cooper) a friend of her son, Viscount Linley, who had earlier delivered it to her in order to obtain money for it. So is this also the reason for the arrival of Bindon or is there something else he needs to tell her?
Set on a sumptuous stage, this relatively short play (just over 1 hour 30 minutes including interval), describes what was to be the last meeting between the two (Bindon died shortly afterwards of AIDS-related liver cancer) recalling the rather more carefree days when she had been spending time since her marriage to Antony Armstrong-Jones (later Lord Snowdon) in 1960 on the island of Mustique, which eventually come back to potentially bite her. Not that she is concerned of course - that is not Princess Margaret's way.
"It's not easy being a Princess" is embroidered on a cushion she once showed off - that is surely the case when the life you want to lead and the life you are expected to lead diverge so dramatically and this play shines a light on this "daughter of an Emperor", portraying whether she is loyal to the Crown or loyal to an old friend.
Very disappointing ! Not able to hear all of speech, many people complained of this. Not quite sure what the story was or if there was one. Travelled along way to see this play. Went shopping in the second half ! ☹️