The Throne at the Charing Cross Theatre: Press night review by Stephen Vowles 

The play on words is very important as I do actually know a few people that refer to their loo as the throne and spend many an hour contemplating the world around them whilst sitting on it. Writer John Goldsmith expertly uses this witticism to put together a play that may show some kind of irreverence towards Her Majesty, but I actually think deep down the opposite is true. 

So Derek Jones PhD, head of science at Dudley Goring Comprehensive School, is a staunch republican so when it is brought to his attention that Her Majesty The Queen is to attend the school to open the new science wing his hackles are firmly up and he reinforces his position by refusing to wear a tie –  which headmaster Peter Carr, played by Michael Joel Bartelle, insists he wears. 

Jones is intrigued by the fact that a special Portaloo has been installed in the hall of the school just in case the Queen needs to spend a penny. Then the Queen does pay a visit and the two of them are trapped in the loo because a bomb has been planted underneath. It takes a connection between the two to get them out of the mess with the Queen showing a great sense of calm, whilst Jones is very stressed.

Jones played by Charlie Condou and Her Majesty played by Mary Roscoe are just fabulous with both of their characters showcasing typical traits to a perfection that is both keen, correct, extremely plausible and via the light-hearted nature of the script, very  funny. The subtlety of the comedy is executed to a very high level of precision with both Condou and Roscoe demonstrating great skill in their respective timing.

Goldsmith neatly puts in running gags: “What is in that handbag?” and because they do have use of a mobile phone (until the battery dies) we get to see Jones pass the phone to Her Majesty almost bowing as he does so. I liked the fact that Roscoe’s dialogue includes the use of the royal ‘we’ and the royal ‘one’ and when a connection is made to Prince Philip, who is on a private visit to the USA, she knows he is probably up to no good but is very much in control of her marriage. When Prince Charles calls there is a rather slight disdain in her voice that is just brilliant. 

This is also a wonderful look at class, privilege, worlds colliding, the power of argument and debate and the pros and cons of the existence of such organisations as the Privy Council.

Goldsmith clearly knows about protocol and this just makes for a rather amusing night of theatre. Great fun! And both actors are out for a good time, even if hamming it up is very much called for. 

Photos by Tristram Kenton 


The Throne runs to Saturday 30th July at Charing Cross Theatre, The Arches, Villiers Street, London WC2N  6NL. Box office: 08444 930 650 Website:

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