Location: Theatre Royal Haymarket
Review: "Indeed, Cocteau`s The Eagle Has Two Heads, in which Donald played the lover-assassin of Eileen Herlie`s Ruritanian Queen, was a test of everybody`s patience, but James, a good listener, knew how to share the romantic limelight tactfully."
Duncan`s adaptation of Jean Cocteau`s play does full justice to the
lyric quality of a romantic Ruritanian tale. The atmosphere of love and
intrigue in high places is conveyed with intensity and suspense and
Murray MacDonald has directed the play with real insight.
in her bedroom in her castle at Kranz, the Queen keeps tryst with the
memory of her husband assassinated on their wedding day ten years
Queen`s long soliloquoy in the imagined presence of her King, and to
the accompaniment of a terrible thunderstorm, is first interrupted by
shots from the ground and then by the appearence of a young peasant who
staggers wounded through the window. So great is his likeness to her
dead husband that for the moment the Queen thinks he is an apparition.
The young man refuses to speak, though the Queen now
guesses that he is the poet agitator who has been detailed to
assassinate her by a hostile political group. Edith, suspicious that
something unusual is happening comes to the Queen and is severely
rebuked. Stanislas, the intruder, is hidden from view.
who has maintained complete silence, finally faints from loss of blood,
and the Queen orders here deaf-mute servant to remove him from her
The next morning the Queen is at target practice in her libary when Stanislas appears.
is obvious that her interest in the young man is growing and that he is
bewildered by the trend of events. He discovers that she already knows
by heart a scurrilous poem which he had written and circulated and which
was aimed at discrediting her character and regime.