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The Restoration of Nell Gwyn at Park Theatre London

Elizabeth Mansfield in The Restoration of Nell Gwyn
Elizabeth Mansfield in The Restoration of Nell Gwyn (c) Anthony Robling

Ensemble and York Theatre Royal present the London premiere of The Restoration of Nell Gwyn by Steve Trafford, with songs by Henry Purcell, at Park Theatre (PARK90) from 26 January – 20 February. This two-hander stars Olivier Award nominee Elizabeth Mansfield and Angela Curran from ITV’s hit series ‘The Job Lot’.

Directed by Damian Cruden, this new comedy, full of bawdy wit, is a reinterpretation of the legendary Nell Gwyn and a celebration of female resilience in a world where women seldom thrive. The Restoration of Nell Gwyn opened in York Theatre Royal in 2014, prior to a UK tour the same year. Damian Cruden directed the Olivier Award winning The Railway Children at York Theatre Royal which transferred to Waterloo station, now at King’s Cross Theatre.

A fine vignette of Britain, then and now, where the personal is heroically, hilariously political. King Charles II lies ill. Nell, his royal whore and once star of the Restoration stage, rages against the fate that may befall her if Charles dies. Margery, Nell’s maid, is no whore but a survivor whose fate too hangs on the life or death of the Royal patriarch.

We see Nell in breeches, a perfect boy. She sings like an angel. Margery dances, emptying chamber pots with priceless asides on sex, love, class and power…

Elizabeth Mansfield (Nell Gwyn) has performed many leading roles in plays, music theatre and musicals. Her title role performance in Marie (Fortune Theatre) saw her nominated for the Olivier Award for ‘Best Actress in a Musical’ and ‘Best Actress’ in the London Theatre Awards. She has worked extensively in radio, and was nominated ‘Best Actress’ in the Sony Radio Awards, whilst a member of the BBC Radio Drama

Angela Curran (Margery) can currently be seen on TV as security guard Janette, in ‘The Job Lot’ (ITV). She has worked in many theatres including: Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse, Leeds Playhouse, Arts Theatre Cambridge and the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. Her television and film work is extensive, including ‘Calendar Girls’, ‘The Iron Lady’ and ‘Nicholas Nickleby’ and for Mike Leigh ‘Vera Drake’, ‘Naked, Secrets and Lies’ and ‘Mr. Turner’.

Steve Trafford (writer) was a founder member of Red Ladder Theatre, writing work including Nerves of Steel, Taking Our Time and Ladders to the Moon. He wrote Marie – The Story of Marie Lloyd, later adapted for BBC Radio 4, and Hymn to Love, also adapted for BBC Radio 3. He recently translated Schumann’s ‘Frauenliebe und Leben’ song cycle as part of Clara’s Gift, Ensemble’s most recent production. He has also written widely for ITV and BBC Drama series, including several episodes of ‘Midsomer Murders’.

Damian Cruden (Director) has been Artistic Director of York Theatre Royal for the past 16 years. His most recent productions include Blithe Spirit, Brassed Off and The Railway Children (York, London and Toronto).

Nao Nagai (Lighting Designer) has collaborated with various performance makers and currently works as lighting tutor at Goldsmith’s College.

Richard Aylwin (Designer) has designed many theatre and opera productions, including for English National Opera, Welsh National Opera, Opera North, Scottish Opera and the Royal Opera House, Linbury Studio. For Ensemble he designed Portraits in Song, Ay Carmela, The Uninvited and Souvenir d’Anne Frank.

The Restoration of Nell Gwyn
Park Theatre, Clifton Terrace, Finsbury Park, N4 3JP
26th January – 20 February 2016
Performances: Tue – Sat 7.45pm, plus Thu & Sat 3.15pm (except Thu 28 January 3.15pm) Q+A: Free Q+A directly after the performance on Fri 29 January with Beatrix Campbell OBE
Booking: www.parktheatre.co.uk / 020 7870 6876


  • Neil Cheesman

    First becoming involved in an online theatre business in 2005 and launching londontheatre1.com in September 2013. Neil writes reviews and news articles, and has interviewed over 150 actors and actresses from the West End, Broadway, film, television, and theatre. Follow Neil on Twitter @LondonTheatre1

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