Out-of-work actor Beth Buckingham believes she was born to play the role of Elizabeth II in the Netflix series The Crown. When she hears that Claire Foy has been sacked from the role, she decides to mount her own live version of the show with the assistance of her hopeless agent and manager, Stanley Diamond.
The Crown Dual is the work of Daniel Clarkson, whose past comedy hits include Potted Potter, Potted Panto and Potted Pirates. He takes a similar approach to The Crown and has a lot of fun with Peter Morgan’s acclaimed show.
It’s a tightly written parody, though sometimes Owen Lewis’ production feels more like an extended sketch than a fully-fledged comedy – there’s no attempt to give Beth a backstory, for example. Despite this, it is often hilarious as well as affectionate towards fringe theatre, Foy and Foy’s heir apparent Olivia Colman.
Rosie Holt, as Beth, and Brendan Murphy, as Stanley, make a slick, sure-footed comedy double act. They handle Clarkson’s zany script with assurance. The versatile Murphy has more to do, morphing from Prince Phillip to Princess Margaret, while Holt is great fun as the girl who would be queen.
The Crown Dual may be slight, but Clarkson’s formula is popular for good reason. It delivers the laughs while appealing to the box-set generation.