AN AUDIENCE WITH THE DUKE OF WINDSOR

An audience with the Duke of Windsor- Assembly on the Mound- 12pm

 

This one man drama featuring Bob Kingdom-who did a fantastic Truman Capote turn two years ago- focuses on the Duke of Windsor in the period shortly after his abdication. It is one of two shows that Kingdom has on at Assembly this year as he transforms into Dylan Thomas at the same venue at three o’clock every afternoon. His performance as the Duke of Windsor however is outstanding and interpretative.

Despite this I wish I could have seen more of it as due to bad seating layout and strategy-we were ushered into our seats with little consideration of such issues- I was seated behind someone in the front row who was well over six feet and every time Kingdom’s role required him to sit down-quite often in fact- all I could see was the back of this interloping giant’s head. It is unfortunate as I spent the first twenty minutes trying to establish an angle which would allow me to see more than this and as such I missed a lot of the early dialogue. Luckily I knew a lot of the background anyway so was able to pick up the thread only to have Kingdom sit down again and then I was back to square one.

Giving up the throne for the romantic notion of being with the woman he loves- Wallis Simpson- may seem like an anachronism in our much more louche and freethinking society of the 21st century where our future king is married to a divorcee we are all aware was his mistress throughout his marriage to Diana and we think-or more correctly care- very little of it.

Things were different in the 1930’s however and the story was a cause celebre of the highest calibre. The dynamic between the exiled couple is pretty much established as him being her obedient lapdog while Wallis does the New York party circuit with a young attractive chaperone that allegedly swings both ways. On the other side of the Atlantic the Duke has to deal with the fall out of the political and constitutional implications of his actions. There are a few cheeky asides about the late Queen Mother which debunk the myth of her being a sweet , kindly thing as opposed to the ruthless social climber she must have been to rise to such an elevated status.

This one hour and fifteen minute show is definitely a tour de force and as stated previously I only wish I could have seen more. I think the venue needs to rethink its seating layout as I was not the only one unimpressed by the blocked view I wasn’t offered but more or less forced into taking, despite having queued for about fifteen to twenty minutes. If I had paid for my ticket I would have been demanding a refund. This should not detract from a very good show however and one that I strongly recommend. Not as much as I recommend getting there early and shoving anyone over 6’4” out of the way.

****

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