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Review: The Crown Jewels at the New Theatre

The Crown Jewels, New Theatre Cardiff

A right royal romp!

Come and spend an evening in the court of the merry monarch – King Charles II. The 1660’s were a time of reformation. Indulgence, exuberance and pleasure were the order of the day. Fresh from the West End, this new comedy, written by BAFTA award winning writer Simon Nye and directed by multi-Olivier Award winner Sean Foley, delivers just that.

This play loosely tells the tale of a band of misfits who attempt to steal the crown jewels, just before the King’s 10-year jubilee celebrations. The jewels, housed in the tower of London, are not particularly well guarded by an ex-soldier, his wife and daughter. A disillusioned trio, led by the quick talking Colonel Blood, join forces with an actress and, parading as interested spectators, attempt to relieve the tower of its treasures.

The Crown Jewels, New Theatre Cardiff

Opening with the stunning vocals of West-end star Carrie Hope Fletcher, it is clear that the audience are in for a night of high-and low-jinx. The jokes come thick and fast, bringing the audience along with the merriment.

But the absolute star of this romp is Al Murray (the Pub Landlord) who commanded the room as the frivolous King. The front four rows of the audience endured a right royal roasting from the king who’s quick wits and raunchy jests had the audience in fits of laughter.

The star studded cast also include TV Presenter Mel Giedroyc, Neil Morrissey (replaced by Ryan Lane the night we went to the show), and Joe Thomas of The Inbetweeners fame. With gags clearly written for the actors ‘Bake Off’ fans will spot culinary creations touted by Mel Giedroyc’s character that budding royalist bakers would be, err, proud of shaping.

The Crown Jewels, New Theatre Cardiff

Irish TV star Aidan McArdle and stage new-comer Tanvi Virmani complete the ensemble. The King’s sycophantic head footman, Adonis Siddique, also deserves a mention. The attention to detail in this show was not forgotten with even the set changes enacted by campy footmen portrayed by Dedun Omole, Emma Bown, Ryan Lane and Kieran Brown.

The costuming was spot on, with ostentatious wigs, flowing gowns and glittering jewels. The set helped transport us from the gilded glamour of the royal court to the humble tower lodgings and included an excellent ‘handy mappe’ of the tower.

This unpredictable caper is undoubtably a comedy. The cast clearly have as much fun as the audience, and at times were barely able to keep the giggles at bay. Naughty jokes, clever wit and audience participation make The Crown Jewels feel like a cross between a pantomime and a Carry-On film.

Whilst there is no guideline for age we recommend suitability for audiences 13+ due to strong language and adult humour.

The Crown Jewels  is showing until October 7th at the New Theatre Cardiff, be sure to get your tickets. It’s not too late to book your seats on the New Theatre Cardiff’s website here.