The early life of Queen Victoria, from her ascension to the throne at the tender age of eighteen to her courtship and marriage to Prince Albert.The early life of Queen Victoria, from her ascension to the throne at the tender age of eighteen to her courtship and marriage to Prince Albert.The early life of Queen Victoria, from her ascension to the throne at the tender age of eighteen to her courtship and marriage to Prince Albert.
It would be wrong to say this production has a tin-ear for how people spoke - it's instead the clear intention to provide a commercial soap, pressing many modish buttons. Jenna Coleman's beauty, while helping the ratings also seriously distorts history. Suitors for Victoria's hand, knew that they were making a play for the most powerful and prestigious woman then in the world, they were the men who would be King. That she was short, dumpy and no beauty dissuaded none of them from their professions of devotion - as watching courtiers - and staff - would have observed and discussed. While Victoria was determined, wilful, direct and came to quickly occupy her status as a monarch,she did I think share with every respectable young lady a belief that she should speak politely to elders of comparable status and this production seems entirely modern in ignoring this absolute obligation.
Leopold was Victoria's much loved and respected uncle with whom, from their letters, was fond, frank when necessary but diplomatic - exactly as one might expect. In this production he (played by Alex Jennings) is blunt and crude in attempting to publicly dictate to Victoria a suitable financial arrangement for Albert. The screenplay cuts out an important figure - Baron Stockmar, Leopold's personal physician who was first Leopolds emissary on behalf of Albert then after their marriage, became at Leopold's request, adviser to the couple.Thus Leopold could remain the fond uncle and leave any uncomfortable topics to Stockmar to raise - on lines pre-agreed with Leopold.
Rufus Sewell (Melbourne) was brilliant in The Woodlanders. Here he seems woefully miscast. Sewell is 47 years old and appears and sounds younger whereas Melbourne was 58 at the time. Sewell comes across as an older brother, not a father-figure-counsellor. Melbourne was an accomplished major public figure, orator, womaniser and old charmer, immensely skilled in all the play-acting skills diplomacy, in arenas from international to drawing-room to playing the gallant to a young girl, required. Rufus Sewell does not remotely resemble such a figure
Lavish, colourful, entertaining but throughout, historically, overwhelming soap gets into the audiences eyes - and up this reviewers nose.
- Sep 4, 2016