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The British royal family could be a joke, but it is not a farce. Despite everything—the Diana voice tapes; Andrew Morton’s secretly authorised Diana book; Charles and Camilla’s Tampax conversations; Prince Andrew and Fergie’s bust-up; Harry’s Nazi fancy-dress uniform—Britain’s Windsor remain weird and dysfunctional but not farcical.
Not just yet. This is why literary London’s clever brand-new play, A Right Royal Farce, falls flat on its face.
Anyone and everyone can roll up to see A Right Royal Farce, the supposedly achingly witty satire written by the bold brand-new eggheads, Toby Young and Lloyd Evans.
Punters—from Britain and beyond—may enjoy the opportunity to see a theatrical Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, spouting off at the outset of the play.
Tourists, especially coloured ‘wogs’ from former British colonies, will surely relish hearing the acerbic Duke ask African dictators if they have eaten any members of the opposition recently.
More serious observers of the human condition may relish the opportunity to observe the Windsors at play—serial shagging; swearing; superlatively unbuttoned.
But discerning members of the audience will probably quail before the volley of sexual innuendoes, loaded puns and downright dirty acts loaded on to the bowed shoulders of Britain’s richest and most powerful hereditary clan.
It needn’t have been this way. Young and Evans have a good track record. In 2005, at exactly this time of year, they had London rocking with laughter at a mad, bad and bitingly funny farce about the sexual shenanigans linking Britain’s corridors of power to media offices.
In that farce, titled Who’s The Daddy, Britain’s former house secretary, David Blunkett, the equivalent of India’s house minister, was depicted hopelessly in love with Kimberley Quinn, the recently-married publisher of The Spectator magazine.