Nell Gwynn showcases some excellent dramatic and comic talent and is well worth seeing.
Jessica Swale’s play premiered at Shakespeare’s Globe in London in 2015, and brings contemporary humour with a smattering of anachronisms to this lively, bawdy 17th century tale.
The cast delivers polished performances in an intricate production of a play – and plays within a play. Emily Currie sparkles as Nell, Brad Martin charms as the leading actor Charles Hart, Dylan O’Donnell steals many scenes as Edward Kynaston, as does Kate Anolak as Nell’s dresser. Peter Davies as King Charles II has a regal stage presence constantly shadowed by his exasperated courtier Lord Arlington, Philip Lineton. The other women in the King’s life are beautifully portrayed by Alicia Zorkovic as the manipulative Lady Castlemaine; Rose Harvey as French mistress Louise de Keroualle; and Karyn Fuller as the highly emotional and unintelligible Portuguese Queen Catherine. In fact everyone in this cast deserves a mention – Anita Pipprell, Lindsay Dunn, Matthew Chapman, Simon Barnett and Rebecca Kemp contribute significantly with their colourful characters.
Comic timing was superb throughout. The costumes and wigs were magnificent. All of this was presented against a minimalist stage set with minimum props.
If you appreciate historical comedies with a twist, ribald humour, a dash of music-hall song and dance and even a hint of My Fair Lady, you will enjoy this.
Congratulations to Director Megan Dansie and her production and technical crew for bringing Nell Gwynn back to life.