WestEndExtra

The independent London newspaper

Review: Falling In Love Again at the King’s Head Theatre

24 January, 2020 — By Sipora Levy

Ashton Spear and Ramona von Pusch in Falling in Love Again. Photo: Phil Swallow

RON Elisha, whose Son of Wittgenstein was produced at the King’s Head in 2016, has returned with a tantalising romantic fantasy involving King Edward VIII (Ashton Spear) and Marlene Dietrich (Ramona von Pusch).

Elisha’s new play tells the story of the night the king might have spent with the “Queen of Hollywood” in 1936, the eve of his abdication. It is deliciously entertaining and timely, given the current controversy involving the royals.

Marlene arrives at Edward’s Fort Belvedere retreat to try to persuade him not to abdicate. In reality, she was not allowed to enter his residence, but in Elisha’s version she is granted a meeting and attempts to seduce him, using a variety of techniques – including singing, dressing in various outfits, horse riding and golf.

There is real chemistry between the two actors, and von Pusch, in particular, is terrific at conveying Dietrich’s charisma and sex appeal. Her performance of some legendary songs is magnificent and worth the ticket price alone.

Spear is good at communicating Edward’s conflicted feelings about his lover, American divorcee Wallis Simpson, and his country, and also reveals his vulnerability and flirtatiousness. The play is witty and wise, touching on ideas of love, duty, gender and power.

Director Tama Matheson and his talented team make the most of an intimate space, creating the atmosphere of a boudoir, night club and the king’s office with clever lighting and props. The set is papered with newsprint detailing Edward’s involvement with Simpson.

Judging by the public’s appetite for royal gossip, Falling in Love Again could prove to be box-office gold.

Until February 8
020 7478 0160

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