Belfast Telegraph

The King's Speech: Jason Donovan stars on stage fit for a king

By Andrew Johnston

The touring version of hit British movie The King's Speech arrived in Belfast to much fanfare.

Jason Donovan may seem an unlikely choice for the role of speech therapist Lionel Logue, but the erstwhile soap star and pop singer won a standing ovation with his energised performance in the plush setting of the Grand Opera House last night.

Perhaps Donovan's relative underdog status as a former teen idol among heavyweight dramatic types allowed him to tap into Logue's character, as memorably played on screen by fellow Aussie thespian Geoffrey Rush.

Mr Selfridge's Raymond Coulthard took the Colin Firth part, investing his King George VI with the right blend of short temperedness and dry humour.

The grand sets loomed over the cast imposingly, though they never stopped the intimate tale of the monarch's triumph over a stammer from shining through.

Cameos from Winston Churchill in his pre-Prime Ministerial days and the future Queen Mother added novelty for the audience, while the setting in the build-up to World War II was historically fascinating.

Four stars

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