The Information on `Battle Royal'

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The Independent Culture
What Is It?

The premiere of Nick Stafford's plodding new drama in which Princess Diana is obliquely resurrected in the shape of the 18th-century Princess Caroline of Brunswick, whose fate weirdly anticipated hers. The unflattering comparison is with Alan Bennett's marvellous, The Madness of George III: Stafford's piece holds little interest apart from its contemporary parallels.

Who's In It?

Howard Davies's production boasts some fine performances from Zoe Wanamaker who floods the stage with the princess's comically oddball, strongly poignant presence and from Simon Russell Beale as the prince. Matthew Macfadyen is superb as Brougham, the brilliant defence lawyer for the princess and expert mobiliser of public opinion.

What They Say About It

"Trudging flat-footedly through the history, it never grabs the material by the scruff of the neck in order to bring out its metaphoric meaning... Diana is destined to continue popping up in our drama. One hopes that next time she will arrange to reappear in a less parasitic and pedestrian affair," Paul Taylor, The Independent.

"The result isn't notable for historical or psychological depth; but Howard Davies's production is a thoroughly decent example of chronicle- drama," The Times.

"Alan Bennett's The Madness of George III casts a long and shaming shadow over Battle Royal, just as George III did over George IV," Evening Standard.

Where You Can See It

Battle Royal is at the Lyttelton, National Theatre, London SE1 (0171- 452 3000) to 4 Mar