If you write something about the royal family, nowadays it can be canceled. Well, it’s time to put my neck on the line and say “God Save the King” as the Prince of Wales took the throne – appropriately at the Prince of Wales Theater – in The Windsors: Endgame. Maybe like the royal family themselves The Windsors: Endgame will share the opinion like marmite. Some may not like the bitter taste of the show, but this is a master class in British satire. The Windsors: Endgame is a real royal pantomime and funny fun.
For the unfamiliar The Windsors, It is originally a television show that parodies and caricatures the life of the royal family. Now, after three seasons, the Royals have found a house in the West End just a stone’s throw from Buckingham Palace, and the Royals have traveled the world to save their relationships and the monarchy.
Harry Enfield reiterates his masterly portrayal as Prince Charles, a role clearly loved by fans of the TV show as his first step onto the stage was greeted by clapping admirers. Given his main reckoning, Prince Charles’ appearances were few and far between, usually linked to killer villain Tracy-Ann Oberman as Camilla Parker Bowles. Even so, Enfield gives people what they want, a boisterous impression with more wit and personality than the real deal could ever muster.
Enfield is supported by a trio of actors who repeat their television roles. Tom Durant-Pritchard gives a doughy portrayal as Prince Harry, who comes into its own in full combat gear in the second act. Matthew Cottle as Prince Edward leads us through The Windsors: Endgame in a narrative manner that, like his media wallflower status, fades into the background, but emerges in unexpected ways; Sports commentary on a four-way sex scene between Wills, Kate, Meghan and Harry is a highlight. And while Tim Wallers performs safely as Prince Andrew, the plot doesn’t quite work with him – even though the sweat jokes have been wrung out like a soaked flannel.
If you’re looking for a royal feud, you’ve come to the right place with Kate and Meghan, played by Kara Tointon and Crystal Condie, respectively. Their constant bickering hits just the right moments and outdoes each other through newly found empowered states. Markle, possibly referred to as a simple millennial, records her Spotify podcasts and compares the queen to an avocado. But Condie’s impression on the nose isn’t cheesy, even as a professional Meghan Markle doppelganger.
All the pomp and circumstance expected of the royals are thrown away in favor of gross comments and more sex jokes than fifty shades of gray. But it is offset by the intricate set design by Madeline Girling, which feels like a replica of Buckingham Palace. Hilary Lewis’ accurate costumes felt like they were pulled from the Boden catalog. Unexpected songs, however, don’t quite match the design; Songs about royal tours and an impromptu rap from Prince William felt like filler material to tick off all one-liners instead of adding something new. But despite all of these repetitive jokes, they still made the audience laugh as loud as they did the first time.
The exaggerated British humor in The Windsors: Endgame won’t be for everyone. But remember that Kanal 4 – his TV home – is designed as an alternative programming channel. The stage show captures this zippy craziness, and the direction by Michael Fentiman captures the zeitgeist of a nation that has been locked up for almost 18 months and just wants to laugh at something stupid. It’s probably a show for Prince Phillip’s humor, but maybe not for the Queen’s. Rule Britannia and rule the Windsors.
The Windsors: Endgame will air at the Prince of Wales Theater through October 9th. Book The Windsors: Endgame tickets at LondonTheatre.co.uk.
Photo credit: Ciarán Owens (Wills), Kara Tointon (Kate), Crystal Condie (Meghan), Tom Durant-Pritchard (Harry) (Photo by Marc Brenner)