High praise indeed for this show and the producers who have very successfully brought live theatre back by adhering to all the strict social distancing rules and regulations and at the same time creating a theatre space that totally serves its purpose.
Seated in our own little bubble and our immediate needs taken care of – and instructions given by the lovely Mr Peter Bull prior to curtain up – the stage was set for the true story of Fanny and Stella, two Victorian gentlemen who dressed as ladies and scandalised Victorian society by sleeping with and indeed marrying into aristocracy.
With book and lyrics by Glenn Chandler and music by Charles Miller, this exuberant and robust musical directed by Steven Dexter is a whirlwind of slick action, with very well staged musical numbers by Nick Winston that capture a bygone era of variety and music hall traditions.
The superb cast of Jed Berry, Kurt Kansley, Alex Lodge, Mark Pearce – who steals every scene he is in – Joaquin Pedro Valdes and Kane Verrall act up a storm, especially Verrall whose understanding of the role is sensational.
This is superb theatre that also highlights the social issues of the time and via witty dialogue explains how these two men, Ernest Boulton and Frederick Park, lived their lives as they wished to as cross dressers and basically suffered for it, being arrested in 1870 and also undergoing the humiliation of an intrusive medical examination that shows the brutality of the times.
A fast paced theatrical treat and a wonderful joy from start to finish. Gloriously camp!