The Regina Monologues

ALISON CROOSE King's Lynn Festival: Guildhall of St George, King's Lynn


Janet Suzman showed her well-honed acting abilities as Elizabeth I, complete with all the Queen's idiosyncrasies, in a programme of words and music.

The ensemble Concordia and counter tenor William Purefoy set the scene with music of the period in an entertainment which has been acclaimed at earlier dates in a national tour.

The audience shared that appreciation for an event which slotted well into the festival's British theme.

The haunting songs of the period, by William Byrd and John Dowland, created the appropriate atmosphere in which the Queen could reflect on her life.

Against the evocative background of music which would have been played at her court, she bared her soul, voicing thoughts that showed she shared many of the hopes and fears as her subjects.

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But she also had to live with her power as a monarch, not least her authority to execute her lovers. Janet Suzman utilised her skills to portray a historic heroine grappling with her responsibilities.

It was appropriate that the performance, which marked the 400th anniversary of the Queen's death, was enacted in the medieval Guildhall.