A Royal Affair @ The Ross

Dr. Struensee (Mads Mikkelsen), the Danish King Christian (Mikkel Boe Følsgaard), and Queen Caroline (Alicia Vikander)

Dr. Struensee (Mads Mikkelsen), the Danish King Christian (Mikkel Boe Følsgaard), and Queen Caroline (Alicia Vikander)

Courtly madness and arrant passion combine for A Royal Affair, Nikolaj Arcel’s lavish historical drama set in 18th century Denmark. It is based on the true story of a love triangle between Dr. Johann Friedrich Struensee (Mads Mikkelsen), the German physician to the mentally ill Danish King Christian IV (Mikkel Boe Følsgaard), and his love affair with the well-versed English Princess turned Queen, Caroline Matilde (Alicia Vikander). It is the Age of Enlightenment, and Dr. Struensee and Queen Matilde contemplate the ideal of personal freedom. Arcel’s production unleashes the usual suspects once the affair is discovered: the lovers’ carelessness, intrigue, and, of course, the set-up. The device Arcel cleverly uses to set-up the attraction between Dr. and his patient, the King, and for the love affair to materialize is the seduction of the written word. Dr. Struensee earns the Royal Physician’s post by trading quotations from Shakespeare with the King like an experienced chess player. When the Dr. examines the Queen for a possible illness in his office, she spies his library and borrows a book on the Enlightenment. Later, the Dr. sends the Queen a gift of Rousseau and Voltaire for her private reading. These literary gestures endear physician, King and Queen to each other as each word conjures up intense friendship and fascination; loyalty and trust.

The Dr. and Queen in a stolen moment

The Dr. and Queen in a stolen moment

Worth noting in A Royal Affair are the sumptuous eye-pleasing costumes overrun with rich brocades, lace and silk. Nikolaj Arcel has produced an astonishing smartly executed period piece drawn with a very modern feel.

A Royal Affair plays through February 21 at The Ross Media Arts Center in Lincoln.

This weekend’s Met HD Live opera is Rigoletto February 16 and Sunday, February 17.
The Coffee and Conversation film on Sunday is Soul Food Junkies.

Abridged audio version @ 49:36 http://tinyurl.com/d3gd4es on Friday Live at the Mill!

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