Fanny & Stella, The Garden Theatre at The Eagle - ★★★★ - Until August 28, 2020

Photographer: Joseph Thomas.

Live theatre is back in all its glory! Playing outdoors and socially distanced, this is a little gem of a show. Juxtaposing high drama with low comedy frequently succeeds as a theatrical device and this musical is no exception. Revolving around a notorious Victorian court case where two young, cross-dressing men were charged with sodomy, the show uses elements of Music Hall to get its points across. David Shields' simple design cleverly compliments the unusually florid accessories to the gentlemen's dress suits. Fanny and Stella, our drag queen leading 'men', are played with great aplomb by Kane Verrall and Jed Berry. They create believably lovable characters and bring joyous humour balanced with heart-rending pathos. The company of six perform Nick Winston's delightfully slick routines immaculately. Mark Pearce stands out in a myriad of cameo roles; it is a tribute to Pearce and director, Steven Dexter, that he never outstays his welcome. Alex Lodge's handsome and closeted Louis has some excellent moments and a fine voice, while Kurt Kansley and Joaquin Pedro Valdes complete a top-notch cast. The bawdy humour just manages to steer clear of excess and Verrall's turn as Stella's mother is glorious pantomime damery. Out from behind their armour of drag, the boys display endearing tenderness and vulnerability. And although they are found not guilty, the devastating effect of the trial on those near to them brings the piece to an enigmatic close. This is a show that is highly entertaining, so hitch up your skirts and run to catch it while you can.

Reviewed by D.S.J.

 Our Score:  ☆☆☆☆ 

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WHEN, WHERE, GETTING THERE:
Until August 28, 2020
Mon: 7:30 pm, Tue: 6 pm & 8:30 pm
The Garden Theatre, The Eagle
Nearest tube: Vauxhall
http://fannyandstellamusical.com

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