Winner of the 2016 Olivier Award for Best New Comedy, Jessica Swale’s blissfully funny Nell Gywnn comes to Edinburgh, direct from critically acclaimed, sell out runs in the West End and at the Globe Theatre. Read more …
1660 Drury Lane. Charles II has cast off London’s drab, puritanical past with a love of all things loud, French and sexy. A young Nell Gwynn is selling oranges for sixpence in London’s burgeoning West End theatre scene. Little does she know who is in the audience one fateful night.
Jessica Swale’s warm hearted, bawdy comedy tells the story of an unlikely heroine, who went from lowly orange seller to win the adoration of the public and the heart of the King. Starring Olivier Award nominated actress Laura Pitt Pulford, Nell Gwynn is brought to the stage by English Touring Theatre.
Unfailingly stylish, helped by frequently elegant, sometimes comic, costumes and, especially, by the superb and dramatically appropriate music of Nigel Hess.
It’s a play as winning as its heroine, and it’s impossible not to be charmed.
Director Christopher Luscombe has put together a splendidly entertaining show, unlike anything seen in Edinburgh for a long while. Nell Gwynn is pure win.
With some timely sparring to be had on the state of Europe, Swale has dreamt up a piece of serious fun that is pure emancipated joy.
What may appear at first glance to be a Restoration comedy, has a fresh delivery.
It is uplifting and effervescent and an absolute treat not to be missed.
Whilst less time devoted to song and dance numbers would have allowed more time to explore the backstory of the play's heroine through further dialogue, it's the lighthearted moments that make Nell Gwynn a standout, and overall this is a first-rate quality production.
If the final result is often more like a well-written costume romance than a hard-hitting piece of social history, Christopher Luscombe’s production still makes a charming and exceptionally good-looking show, illuminated by a funny, raunchy, yet gently nuanced performance from the lovely Laura Pitt-Pulford as Nell.
Nell Gwynn is an opulent, heady and enjoyable ode to the theatre’s own history, and well-recommended as an evening out.
Jessica Swale--Nell Gwynn