Sunday, April 21, 2024

Charles Edwards, The Future Stuttering King, Has a NY Triumph


Charles Edwards–you do not know who he is because you are not British. Last night he completed the second of two performances at NYU’s Skirball Center with better known actor Joseph Fiennes in a cool art theater piece called “Happy Days in the Art World.” Edwards is well known in England, and he may be here soon on Broadway. He’s set to play stuttering King George VI in “The King’s Speech,” starting this winter in Britain.

If all goes well, he won’t get replaced by a big TV star and keep the role on Broadway a year from now. He should. In last night’s piece, part of the “Performa” series, was terrific. He’s already been on Broadway in “The 39 Steps.” Even his co-star’s brother, Ralph Fiennes, was impressed at last night’s show.

Edwards is well suited to the King George part. He looks enough like Colin Firth, who won the Oscar for the movie. But he’s about 8 years younger, and has his own definite personality. He is not a Firth substitute. With Fiennes, he had a great stage presence as they acted out a kind of Donmar Warehouse-type “Welcome to Godot” by Danish playwrights. If anything, when Edwards comes to Broadway he’ll probably be a big “discovery” like Mark Rylance.

By the way, Kim Criswell pops up in the second half of “Art World” and sings the U2 song, “One.” Apparently the group — via Larry Mullen–gave the song without charge for this production. Criswell just kills it. Evidently, Criswell–who’s American–is well known in the West End musical circles. She’s a huge talent who should be working on Broadway and on TV and in music here. Someone do something–don’t let her go back to Britain!

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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