Event review: Nell Gwynn’s History Laid Bare at Croydon Cabaret Festival

By - Wednesday 7th June, 2017

Songs and stories from Restoration England that will make you Blush

Photo by Ginger Blush, used with permission.

Nell Gwynn was a superstar of her time. One of the most famous Restoration actresses, hers is a true rags-to-riches story – she went from a life of poverty to having two sons by Charles II. In many ways, she was the 17th-century prototype of modern celebrity. She was both pretty and funny, witty and sexy, and so exploring her life through a one-woman comedy-burlesque show is more than appropriate – it’s a stroke of genius.

Ginger Blush, like Nell, is both funny and sexy – and rather humble to boot. Not afraid to poke fun at herself (in a one-woman show, what other choice do you have?), her down-to-earth style is attractive and refreshing – not unlike Nell herself. This well-choreographed and well-designed tour through bawdy Restoration England inventively tells its story with pace and panache – and handily packs into a single suitcase.

We pivot from songs to story to puppetry to rap. With a bit of bingo thrown in for good measure

This is more comedy storytelling than burlesque, but is probably better off for it, as Nell’s colourful history is a lot to pack into an hour’s performance, leaving little room for anything else. Nevertheless, the ride is an extremely enjoyable one, as Ginger Blush effortlessly pivots from songs to story to puppetry to rap to poetry to myriad other things. With a bit of bingo thrown in for good measure.

Nell Gwynn’s History Laid Bare is a joyful hour of educative entertainment that will leave you wanting more. Catch it if you can as it tours the UK.

Owen Kingston

Owen Kingston

Owen is an award-winning writer and director of stage and screen. He is currently Artistic Director of Parabolic Theatre, a company devoted to producing immersive theatrical experiences in the Croydon area.

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