Some of you may be familiar with the tale of Fanny and Stella: Two male actors Boulton and Park who caused a stir in the 1870’s (Long before Oscar Wilde had even put pen to paper.) performing on stage as ‘Those funny he she ladies’. Alas their refusal to confine their drag to the stage, lead to their arrest and trial for ‘conspiracy to commit sodomy’ a crime for which they were eventually acquitted (An early victory for the LBGT brigade) This musical production by Glenn Chandler tells their tale, or rather allows them to tell it themselves, imagining that after their acquittal Fanny and Stella have put on a show to revel in their new found notoriety... 

I arrived at the venue: The eagle on Kennington lane, Vauxhall, after 5 months of no theatre the mood is somewhat somber, we are ushered outside to our socially distanced seats by staff in gloves and visors, where we sit silently behind our face masks wondering what is going to transpire.

Fortunately any lingering notes of foreboding are swept away as soon as the cast come on stage and we are introduced to our heroes or should that be heroines? And their band of merry men.
This show is musical theatre with a capital T, deliciously camp and uproariously funny, I very much enjoyed the way the dialogue payed homage to Victorian music hall style with Gilbert and Sullivan esq levels of innuendo!

On a slightly serious note however you do get a sense of just how hard it would have been for Boulton and Park (And probably many others like them.) To be accepted on their own terms and Iive the lives they wanted in an extremely rigid and non permissive society. 

Jed Berry and Kane Verrall  as Fanny and Stella were perfectly cast and played their roles extremely well but credit must go to the supporting cast who were all excellent, especially mark pierce for his hilarious turn as the Scottish landlady.

(I was also very impressed on the date I went to see this show that all the performers managed to do their choreographed dance routines in heavy costumes and stage black in 30 degree heat!)

After months of no theatre and corona uncertainty a romp like this was just what the doctor ordered. Catch Stella and Fanny while you can at The Eagle, Vauxhall until August 25th.  You won’t be disappointed! See link for more info