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The King's Speech
The King's Speech

The King's Speech
Chicago Shakespeare Theater
Thru - Oct 20, 2019

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Chicago Shakespeare Theater

  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune- Recommended

"...The star of the show offers a very lovely performance — vulnerable, likable and eminently believable. He comes, of course, with certain baked-in advantages: this is not a performer you would readily cast as a character hanging out below the stairs. That said, Hadden-Paton effects a warm embrace with the rest of the acting ensemble, some of which is composed of Chicago actors. It’s a generous piece of acting, bespeaking of real empathy with his character (which he helps us share), and yet never overly sentimental."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times- Somewhat Recommended

"...All of this backstory aside: The play is a plodding, sodding bore as compared to the film, which at least had the off-kilter chemistry between Firth’s Bertie and Geoffrey Rush’s Lionel to recommend it, along with Hooper’s surfeit of odd camera angles."
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Kris Vire

Chicago Reader- Somewhat Recommended

"...Anglophiles are apt to love the production, especially those starving for the next season of The Crown. Chicago theaterphiles should know this: John Judd is killed off early and relegated to an offstage speaking role thereafter. That's enough to make you want to petition the king, or better yet, the casting director."
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Catey Sullivan

Chicago On the Aisle- Highly Recommended

"...It's the most improbable of buddy plays, David Seidler's "The King's Speech." It just happens to be true, and its essential humanity is on captivating display in a masterful production at Chicago Shakespeare Theater."
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Lawrence B. Johnson

Stage and Cinema- Highly Recommended

"...We love levelling. Mark Twain’s prince and the pauper, Queen Victoria and her Scottish and Indian boyfriends, Queen Anne and her favorites, a British schoolteacher and the King of Siam, King George III and his equally mad doctors — these equalizing polarities keep history real."
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Lawrence Bommer

Let's Play at ChicagoNow- Recommended

"...The King's Speech does have some low iffy parts within the play where they tried to show the careless and reckless ways of King Edwards, but the acting of Hadden-Patton and Frain makes it a royal night for the seasoned theater bluff."
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Rick and Brenda McCain

Around The Town Chicago- Highly Recommended

"...This is a slick 2 hour production ( with one intermission) on a clever set (Kevin Depinet) directed to perfection by Michael Wilson. The costumes by David C. Woolard are amazing and the technical aspects of the production will hold you to every scene. The lighting ( Howell Binkley), projections ( Hana Kim), sound and original music ( John Gromada), wigs (Richard Jarvie) and choreography ( Jane Lanier) are perfect. What truly makes this production solid is the full cast of the show. The characters who help re-tell this powerful story showing that one can overcome something if one is willing to work at it and this cast is dynamite."
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Alan Bresloff

NewCity Chicago- Not Recommended

"...Whether you like the original film or not, it exists as cinema: a fixed artistic product that can shift and change based on when it is consumed. “The King’s Speech” at Chicago Shakespeare Theater exists only in the here and now. And in this moment, it has absolutely nothing to say."
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Ben Kaye

Chicago Theatre Review- Highly Recommended

"...Gorgeously guided by Tony Award-nominated director, Michael Wilson, this production overflows with a touch of class. The production stars Harry Hadden-Paton, of television’s “Downton Abbey,” and recently seen at Lincoln Center as Professor Henry Higgins in “My Fair Lady.” He brings proper, posh stature to Bertie, while making the monarch human. Paton absolutely charms theatergoers with his vulnerability and honesty, now and then flashing a dazzling smile that melts even his most-hardened critics. The actor plays all the colors of this reluctant King-to-be, and we’re able to empathize with his pain, embarrassment and desperation to be a credit to the British Crown."
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Colin Douglas

Chicagoland Theater Reviews- Highly Recommended

"...“The King’s Speech” isn’t a great play but it is well written in its exploration of a very human situation. Local playgoers are certainly fortunate in their opportunity to watch Hadden-Paton and Frain crawl into the hearts and souls of the leading characters, elevating a story that could be parochial in its subject matter into universal exploration of perseverance and friendship. Even those who saw and enjoyed the movie version will find Seidler’s live version affecting and maybe even an upgrade."
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Dan Zeff

Third Coast Review- Somewhat Recommended

"...Perhaps it's a similar fan base Chicago Shakespeare Theatre hopes to tap into with the North American premiere of The King's Speech, a play that-at least on paper-is dramatic catnip for royal watchers and history buffs alike. The play, an adaptation of the film version released in 2010 (that went on to win the Academy Award for Best Picture), recounts the very real story of England's reluctant king, George VI, who, while struggling with a speech impediment, took the throne after his older brother abdicated to marry the American divorcee Wallis Simpson."
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Lisa Trifone

Chicago Theater and Arts- Highly Recommended

"...Along with the direction, what makes the action move is scenic designer Kevin Depinet’s “V” shaped rooms played off of by Hana Kim’s projections for a constantly changing sense of place. A shout-out also goes to dialect coach Kate DeVore."
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Jodie Jacobs

Chicago On Stage- Highly Recommended

"...Fans of the film or Netflix’s The Crown (or in general anything having to do with royalty) will definitely want to see The King’s Speech, but it should also appeal to anyone who appreciates a meticulously crafted and directed play with many excellent performances. It’s not a bombastic or explosive evening, but with its quiet and dignified manner it is certainly a fine start to another season at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. It fits nicely alongside the Bard’s history plays as a solid account of an important moment in the monarchy."
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Karen Topham

PicksInSix- Highly Recommended

"...There is an uncommon alliance in “The King’s Speech,” David Seidler’s magnificent play that opened Friday evening in a smart and savvy Michael Wilson-directed Chicago Shakespeare Theater North American premiere at The Yard on Navy Pier. The bond between a future King of England and an Australian actor who serves as his speech therapist—portrayed with awe-inspiring depth by Harry Hadden-Paton and James Frain, respectively—becomes a defining moment for a monarchy still reeling from the effects of one world war and the growing threat of another."
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Ed Tracy

Picture This Post- Recommended

"...Full of heart and honesty, The King’s Speech is a moving adaptation that carries this historical tale immediately into today. Whether you are a fanatic for British history or one who simply enjoys a touching story, Seidler's play has a little something for everyone."
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Lauren Katz