An Evening with Queen Victoria, a portrait in her own words. Unpublished review.Devised and directed by Katrina Hendrey. Prunella Scales with Ian Partridge (Tenor) and Richard Burnett (Piano). The Playhouse, November 29-30, 2004.
I wonder if Ms Scales (you see, I still keep up with modern thinking just as I loved Rossini's 'Il Rimprovero' in my youth) will emulate my determination to never give up. She has only some ten years to go to match my longevity, but I must agree that she is much more sprightly than I at her age. I doubt that I could have played myself aged 18 in 1891, though I did very much enjoy the Misters Gilbert and Sullivan's The Gondoliers in that year. The song 'The Working Monarch' was so much fun, just such a delight that the common people should come to know how my days were spent signing Bills, dispensing knighthoods and so on.
Of course, though Ms Scales, and indeed Professor Partridge, are Commanders of the British Empire, they can never be the real thing as I was. My insistence on my assuming the title Empress of India was perhaps the highlight of my life, revealing - as I wrote - how "prince and peasant are all the same ... before God". We are amused to observe how well my attitudes have survived, in the words of dear Prince Ernest and my very dear Prince Albert in his song Schmerz der Liebe, 'the ship of love battered by the rocks and tempests of life's journey'. My dear great great great grandson Prince Charles understands so well the duties of a monarch and one's proper relations with those in the lower orders, even when, as in the case of my dear Scotsman J. Brown, a commoner has 'feelings and qualities that the highest Prince might be proud of'.
Though I once wrote 'women are unfit to reign', I am informed Ms Scales filled the Playhouse even after more than 400 performances, so it seems Tory or Liberal (I was never sure which was which) values live on, even in far-flung Australia. Long live the Queen.
© Frank McKone M.A., F.A.C.E.
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