Emma Cunniffe and Romola Garai star in Helen Edmundson’s play directed by Natalie Abrahami. Here’s what critics have been saying about it:
1702 – William III is on the throne and England is on the verge of war.
Princess Anne is soon to become Queen, and her advisors vie for influence over the future monarch. Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, a close friend with whom Anne has an intensely personal relationship, begins to exert increasing pressure as she pursues her own designs on power.
Contending with deceit and blackmail, Anne must decide where her allegiances lie, and whether to sacrifice her closest relationships for the sake of the country.
The Independent: *** “Romola Garai vividly projects the glamour and manipulative fake warmth of this duplicitous power-behind-the-throne.”
WhatsOnStage: *** “Edmundson has found three complicated female characters to bring to life, and performances from Garai, Cunniffe and Park keep us guessing – and keep Queen Annean intriguing proposition.”
The Telegraph: **** “Garai brilliantly combines ebbing poise, suppressed panic and steely defiance.”
The Stage: *** “As Anne, Emma Cunniffe gives a performance of tenderness and vulnerability.”
Evening Standard: **** “a rich and satisfying new drama”
The Times: ** “Too much politics and not enough passion in worthy herstory lesson.”
The Guardian: *** “Edmundson’s play may be a history lesson, but it rescues Anne from the shadows and offers a rousing hymn to female agency.”
London Theatre.co.uk: *** “This is a portrait of female friendship and female agency, and a rare showing of women power on the London stage.”
Exeunt Magazine: “Yet whilst it doesn’t make up for gaps in the National Curriculum, Edmundson’s play at least means I now see Queen Anne as less of a house and more of a human.”
British Theatre.com: **** “Queen Anne offers an insightful and commendably believable depiction of the reign of one of England’s lesser known monarchs, and her complex relationship with childhood friend Sarah Churchill. ”
Broadway World: **** “Like all good history plays, this will make you eager to read and explore further.”
The Upcoming: **** “Although portraying two very complex and intricate characters, both Cunniffe and Garai clearly have an incredibly established understanding of their real-life counterparts and their struggles during the queen’s reign.”
London Theatre1: *** “It all just seems to run out of steam before it’s reached its destination.”
Time Out: *** “For all the play’s formal orthodoxy, it’s important to remember that there is nothing at all orthodox about a weighty historical drama that’s almost entirely by and about women.”
Radio Times: ***** ” this play is as regal and captivating as the best historical royal dramas. One might say it’s fit for a Queen.”
London Box Office.co.uk: **** “Under the direction of Natalie Abrahami, the play also provides an outlet for two superb performances; Emma Cunniffe as Anne and in particular Romola Garai as Sarah Churchill. Garai’s Sarah is truly machiavellian and has the audience eating out of her hands throughout.”
Culture Whisper: **** “This seldom-told historical period is brought to life by new talent and a compelling story of power and courtly machinations.”
The FT: **** “Helen Edmundson’s intelligent and enjoyable history play”
British Theatre Guide: “Emma Cunniffe delivers a sympathetic depiction of a troubled monarch trying to save her country and her religion, the goings on around her in Natalie Abrahami’s production but this is hardly another Madness or Wolf Hall.”
Theatre Cat: “Edmundson’s delicate rhythm and powerful bursts of monosyllable (“What mean the Scots? What irks them now?”) are as fresh and sharp as ever. Seek out the bargains. Don’t miss it.”
Queen Anne will play at the Theatre Royal Haymarket from the 30th June until the 30th September. To book tickets visit: Ticketmaster.co.uk, Discount Theatre.com, See Tickets.com,Theatre Tickets Direct.co.uk, Theatre People.com and UK Tickets.co.uk.