This hugely entertaining, relentlessly entertaining romp is based on bizarre events and real characters in Victorian London.
Ernest Boulton and Frederick William Park were two young men who, in 1871, were put on trial in London for dressing as women and conspiracy to commit sodomy, a felony at the time. They dressed up as women (and were very good at it) for amateur theatricals, but when the show was over, and sometimes when there wasn’t even any show, as ‘Fanny and Stella’ they would frequent places of entertainment in the West End where men encountered men for sex and male prostitutes plied their trade.
Park and Boulton were acquitted – an amazing victory for the time when sexual acts between men carried a sentence of two years – primarily because conspiracy could not be proved. Or perhaps it was because one had a father who was a judge, and the other a mother who swayed the court with her tears. Upon their acquittal, Park and Boulton – as Fanny and Stella – along with their theatre company, take their story on the road. They hire a venue for “one night only” to tell their amazing true story of their lives, their trial, and their sensational acquittal. But are they in an ungiving age putting themselves on trial a second time?
Jed Berry as Ernest Boulton/Stella and Kane Verrall as Frederick William Park/Fanny.
Kurt Kansley (Lord Arthur Clinton) was Coalhouse in ‘Ragtime’ at Regents Park and Shultz in ‘Miss Saigon’ in the West End. In Australia, he was twice nominated Best Actor in a Musical, as Che in ‘Evita’ and Coalhouse in ‘Ragtime’.
Alex Lodge (Louis Charles Hurt) was understudy Elder Price, and played the role 200 times, in ‘The Book Of Mormon’ in the West End. He was most recently Ledoux in the ‘Bat Out Of Hell’ UK tour and will resume that role in 2021. Last year he was Offie nominated Best Male Performance in a Musical as Jon in ‘tick, tick…BOOM!’ at Bridge House Theatre.
Mark Pearce (Mr Grimes) saved the day to play Thénardier with just two hours’ notice at the inaugural performance of ‘Les Misérables’, Sondheim Theatre, West End. He played Mr Grimes in a previous production of ‘Fanny and Stella’ and was also in ‘The Wedding Singer’ at Leicester Curve/UK tour.
Joaquin Pedro Valdes (John Safford Fiske) was Cover Lun Tha in ‘The King and I’, UK/International Tour, and Cover Engineer/Cover Thuy in ‘Miss Saigon’, UK Tour. In Manila, he was Mr. Wormwood in the premiere of ‘Matilda’ and Melchior Gabor in the premiere of ‘Spring Awakening’.
It has a first-class creative team led by director Steven Dexter, with musical staging by Nick Winston, musical director Aaron Clingham, designer David Shields and casting by Anne Vosser. It is produced by Peter Bull for LAMBCO Productions.
Peter Bull said: “We are taking baby steps as we venture into the brave new world of open-air socially distanced performances. We are only performing three shows a week initially but we aim to increase this after a successful launch.”
Please note: face masks or coverings must be worn throughout the performance by socially-distanced audience members.
Peter Bull for LAMBCO Productions
‘Fanny and Stella’
Book and Lyrics by Glenn Chandler
Music by Charles Miller
Directed by Steven Dexter
Musical Staging by Nick Winston
Musical director: Aaron Clingham
Designer: David Shields
Casting by Anne Vosser
The Garden Theatre
at The Eagle
349 Kennington Lane
(nearest tube/train: Vauxhall)
Monday August 3 – Sunday 23 August
Monday at 7.30pm
Tuesday at 6.00pm and 8.30pm
Doors will open 30mins before the performance
There are 2 Press performances:
Tuesday 11 August at 6.00pm
and Tuesday 11 August at 8.30pm
Tickets: £16.00 + booking fee
The performance is 80mins (approx) without an interval
The Garden Theatre at The Eagle will follow Government guidelines in its operations
Social Distancing is in place with seat allocations by the theatre staff
The venue is outdoors
Please note that drinks orders may be taken via the Eagle London app and table service is in operation.
All audience members must wear face masks or coverings during the performance