The Crown Dual is a play within a play. The premise of the show is this: having been overlooked for the titular role, wannabe actress Beth (Rosie Holt) comically recreates the first two series of Netflix’s The Crown with her bumbling agent Stan (Brendan Murphy).
This is the essence of what Fringe shows are all about, ridiculous, absurd and downright fun.
It begins with Stan demanding the audience get on their feet and 'show some respect' while the ‘Queen’ enters, she comes in as the national anthem blasts out and sits down on a plastic garden chair that’s been spray-painted gold. This is an amazing and captivating entrance but things quickly turn flat, as Beth and Stan introduce their ‘real’ selves and have a rather dry conversation about Stan being a bad manager and Beth being his only client. It feels unnecessarily drawn out and more suitable for a young children's show (which, with a 14+ age guideline, this is not). Essentially, the start is lacking in the needed oomph to draw a lot of laughter.
When the parody officially begins it’s delightfully funny and ever so silly, Holt and Murphy are at their best in this part of the show. The writing, by Daniel Clarkson, is deeply witty and has the audience chuckling.
Between the pair of them they play the whole cast of The Crown including a bizarre but thoroughly humorous enactment of the Queen’s corgis. Highlights include Princess Margaret who is portrayed as a Bridget Jones figure, feverishly writing in her diary and smoking away, and the ageing Winston Churchill. While both Murphy and Holt turn their hand to portraying the Princess, it is Murphy’s charismatic performance and over the top royal swagger that really shines.
The little nods to Netflix are a cracking addition with real-life pop-ups involving audience interaction to click the ‘button’.
The audience participation is fantastic, with people being used to help reenacte key parts in the Coronation (like the Archbishop of Canterbury) and in our showing one woman was brought out on stage to represent a whole boys’ choir (including the wearing of appropriate religious dress).
With a bottle of chambord in one hand and a garden stake light in the other, the ‘Queen’ is officially crowned. This is the essence of what Fringe shows are all about, ridiculous, absurd and downright fun.
What let this show down was it’s rather lacklustre beginning and the time it took for there to be any sort of energetic and engaging performance.
Despite this, if you enjoy lighthearted parodies, poking fun at the royal family and are looking for a silly afternoon show, the chances are this one will be right up your street - it is awfully enjoyable once they actually get into the swing of things.