A Question of Royalty, the Afternoon Play, was a knockabout caper with top notes of topicality. "This could destabilise the whole country!" was an early line, on the day of the G20 protests. "The aristocrats go, the whole bloody lot collapses." And there was a nod to April Fool's gags, with a plotline about the Queen's marriage being invalid as it hadn't been properly officiated, "leaving all their offspring little bas ...", as light-fingered plasterer Bernie (Johnny Vegas) blurted out.
But mainly, Andrew Lynch's drama was concerned with timeless comedy dependables. Toffs versus "the lumpen proletariat", north versus south, skint versus affluent, true love versus a good marriage: these gave the play its structure and mood, and produced hilarious worlds-colliding moments.
Civil servants threw the might of the establishment at the plasterers, who had inadvertently stolen the royal marriage certificate ("you've admitted treason; we can hang you"), and Ricky Tomlinson, as the other bungling thief, tried to bribe them with goods of dodgy provenance ("we might even be able to get you some topsoil"). Every line from Tomlinson was gloriously delivered, and very funny.Elisabeth Mahoney, The Guardian, 2nd April 2009
Ricky Tomlinson and Johnny Vegas shine as two enterprising brothers, itinerant Liverpool plasterers, contracted onto a refurbishment job at the Public Records office, who stumble on a great State secret when they nick the Queen's marriage certificate. Andrew Lynch's comedy is full of sharp digs about "that nice royal butler we know", knowing insights into the sly life, close encounters with authority, quick glimpses of the difference between what a man really says to his wife and what he tells his mates. Funny, but a bit slow to get going.Gillian Reynolds, The Telegraph, 1st April 2009