Alan’s Bennett’s play The Madness of George III premiered in November 1991 on the Lyttelton stage of the National Theatre in London, directed by Nicholas Hytner, with the late, great Nigel Hawthorne in the title role.
It’s the fictionalised biographical study of the latter half of the reign of George III. Critics labelled Nigel’s Olivier Award winning performance as “astonishing” and “unforgettable”. He also played the role in the 1994 film version, entitle The Madness of King George, also directed by Sir Nicholas H. I’ve always liked the film’s tagline: ‘His Majesty was all powerful and all knowing. But he wasn’t quite all there.’ It was nominated for 4 Oscars, including one for Nigel and 14 BAFTAS.
David Haig played the mental monarch in the revival of the play at The Apollo in the Spring of 2012. The Telegraph’s Charles Spencer compared David’s performance to Nigel’s saying, “it seemed an impossible act to follow, but David Haig proves every inch Hawthorne’s equal in a performance of extraordinary emotion, tenderness and humour”. David was nominated for an Olivier Award.