We all know the saucy image of Nell Gwyn whose oranges found favour with a king. But the aspiring 17th century actress has a fight on her hands to keep her royal suitor.
In a bawdy romp worthy of a restoration comedy Orange Girl Productions is premiering Laura Ingram’s Nell Gwyn: An Epilogue at London’s Pleasance this Friday.
June, 1669: Nineteen-year old Nell is celebrated for her comic acting, particularly when she gets to dress as a boy to show off her legs.
But Charles Hart, her manager and former lover, keeps casting her in tragic roles to embarrass her in front of her new amour, King Charles II.
Nell fears that if she cannot be her sexy, lively self onstage, the King will fall out of love with her off it.
So, aided by the audience in the Pit, she concocts a plan to win Hart round and consolidate both her roles as comedienne and courtesan.
This is no traditional monologue – it is stand-up comedy 17th Century style: bawdy, poignant and energetic all at the same time.
Orange Girl Productions is a new fringe theatre company based in Edinburgh whose principal aim is to present affordable and original theatre.
Written and directed by Laura Ingram, who first encountered Nell’s story when she worked backstage at Drury Lane in the late 1990s, the company’s inaugural play stars 21-year old actress Lucy Formby, who recently trained at the Actors Temple.
Following a successful workshop (in collaboration with Black Dingo Productions) in Edinburgh in 2014 Nell is previewing in London ahead of its anticipated run in August at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Recommended for ages 15 and over due to some bawdy language.
Trailer for Nell Gwyn: An Epilogue from Strange Company on Vimeo.