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Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off - King's Head Theatre

Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

MARY Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off, by Liz Lochhead, is to receive its first full London season 25 years after its Scottish premiere. Directed by Olivier Award-winning La Bohème director Robin Norton-Hale, it runs at the King’s Head Theatre from Wednesday, May 29 to Saturday, June 22, 2013.

Exploring the rivalry and mutual fascination between Mary Queen of Scots and Elizabeth I, Lochhead’s play re-tells this murky tale of political and sexual intrigue with ‘ferocious wit and innovation’ and examines Mary’s legacy through the eyes of Corbie, a carrion crow who is her unseen attendant through life and death.

Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off could not be more timely in an age when the question of Scottish Independence is back at the top of the political agenda.

The play makes the link between contemporary Scottish sectarianism and the power politics of the French Catholic Mary and the English Protestant Elizabeth, and examines the way contemporary Scotland’s sense of identity has been forged by the myths of its history.

The cast includes Nora Wardell (as Mary), Sarah Thom (Elizabeth), Shelley Lang (La Corbie), Sean Hart (Darnley), Jamie Laing (Bothwell), Prentis Hancock (Knox), Michael Longhi (Riccio).

Speaking about the play, Robin Norton-Hale said: “When I first read Liz Lochhead’s play, I couldn’t believe audiences in London hadn’t had chance to see it, apart from a handful of performances 25 years ago. It is so vivacious, irreverent and funny – the least dry telling of a complicated historical intrigue you could imagine. It’s also an enticing challenge for actors – most of them play at least five different characters.”

Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off was, in fact, only seen in London for one week at the Donmar Warehouse in 1987.

The new production has set and costume design by Katie Bellman.

Tickets: £10 to £25 – available from the box office on 020 7478 0160 or online at

Times: Tuesday to Saturday at 7.15pm, Sunday at 3pm.

Californian Lives runs at the King’s Head Theatre until May 26, 2013 (Sundays and Mondays only).