Review: The Windsors – Endgame, Prince of Wales Theatre

Sadly a case of theatricus horribilis, The Windsors: Endgame proves a disappointing TV adaptation at the Prince of Wales Theatre

“I send you my very best wishes”

It almost feels to obvious to say it but given how often it seems to happen, it’s gotta be done – adapting a half-hour TV show to a 2 hours plus stage show (or film, for that matter) is difficult, you gotta have a real sense of purpose about why you’re doing it. Too often, there’s the feeling that it can be treated as an extended TV episode or even accorded less respect than that, meaning success is often hard to come by.

Which is all a longwinded way of saying I really didn’t enjoy The Windsors: Endgame, currently occupying the Prince of Wales Theatre while the Book of Mormon guys make their way back from Uganda. Though it is written by the same guys George Jeffrie and Bert Tyler-Moore (Jeffries having sadly passed away last year), it loses so much of the magic of the TV show, not least in recasting more than three quarters of the main roles.

So we still have Harry Enfield’s Prince Charles, finally ascending to the throne after his mother’s abdication, but we lose the delights of Haydn Gwynne, Hugh Skinner, Katy Wix and more. That not to say that their onstage replacements are no good, Tracy-Ann Oberman’s Camilla and Sophie-Louise Dann’s Fergie are actually both well done, but rather so much of the brilliantly exaggerated characterisations and vocal tics sprang out of performance as much as the writing.

We’re thus left with a fading fascimile, with sadly uninspired musical numbers by Felix Hagan shoehorned in at random intervals with little purpose. Storylines veer off-course as Camilla’s dastardly plans are revealed, topical references sit awkwardly as the ambience tips towards panto and the Prince Andrew stuff, well, you do with that what you will, (I think its abhorrent). I was pleasantly surprised at how funny I found the TV show so to avoid a theatricus horribilis, I’d stick with Netflix.

Running time: 2 hours (with interval)
Photos: Marc Brenner
The Windsors: Endgame is booking at the Prince of Wales Theatre until 9th October

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