Like many people I watched the Coronation and the Windsor Concert this weekend. I couldn’t help seeing it all as piece of theatre and I don’t mean that in a critical way.
The formal service with its symbolic objects, its procession and use of music has a watching audience, there and at at home. At the heart of it all is a mysterious anointing that we were screened off from, then the presentation of those objects and the great climax as the crown was lifted up and placed on the King’s head. Some of those taking part were wonderful performers.
All these ingredients shape a story at the heart of which is continuity and commitment. Whether you are a fan of the Royals or not they are undoubtedly part of the fabric of British life. The splendour of so many soldiers marching in formation and that quaint but opulent coach elevate the story to a fairy tale level even if the weather prevented a big fly past. The helicopters actually flew right over our roof minutes before we saw them on the telly. It wasn’t to be but I always get a lump in the throat when the spitfire passes. A man near me has one and the roar it makes and its shape speaks to a whole generation of boys and their Airfix toys.
Then the party at Windsor. The assembling of so many people, the lighting and sound without a hitch, the flow of performers was seamless. I wasn’t so sure about appropriating Winnie the Pooh. Paddington was fine but Winnie the Pooh lives in a different world to us, so I say hands off.
The light show and spectacular finale with Take That bringing it all together made you proud that we could put on a show and like all theatre we run it in parallel to our own lives. The twinkling lights in the audience may have been given out but it didn’t matter, this was a spectacle and another reminder that this country can make great theatre!