A brand new socially distanced open-air production of Fanny And Stella, a musical with book and lyrics by Glenn Chandler, the creator of Taggart, and music by Charles Miller, is to be staged as the premiere production at The Garden Theatre in the newly refurbished beer garden of The Eagle in Kennington Lane, Vauxhall, London from 3-25 August 2020.
The cast will be led by Jed Berry as Ernest Boulton/Stella and Kane Verrall as Frederick William Park/Fanny. Joining them are Kurt Kansley (Lord Arthur Clinton), Alex Lodge (Louis Charles Hurt), Mark Pearce (Mr Grimes) and Joaquin Pedro Valdes (John Safford Fiske).
Director Steven Dexter is joined by Nick Winston (musical staging), musical director Aaron Clingham, designer David Shields and casting director 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.”
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?
Face masks or coverings must be worn throughout the performance by socially-distanced audience members.
The cast includes:
Jed Berry (Ernest Boulton/Stella). Theatre credits include Angel and cover Referee in Kinky Boots (West End); Elder Grant in The Book of Mormon (UK & International Tour); Friedrich Von Trapp in The Sound of Music (UK Tour); Michael Darling in Stiles and Drewe’s Peter Pan (West Yorkshire Playhouse) and a vocalist in The Oliviers in Concert (Royal Festival Hall). Berry recently produced Raise You Up, an online charity cabaret in collaboration with Jerry Mitchell.
Kane Verrall (Frederick William Park/Fanny). Theatre includes Blaine in Club Tropicana The Musical (UK & Ireland Tour), Will Scarlett in TWANG!! (Union Theatre), Rolf Gruber & Dance Captain in The Sound of Music (UK Tour), Neil Kellerman in Dirty Dancing (UK Tour), Dandini in Cinderella (Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham), Dandini in Cinderella (Civic Theatre, Chelmsford), Dick Whittington in Dick Whittington (Yvonne Arnaud Theatre), Gregory in Free as Air (Finborough), Ensemble and understudy Prince in Sleeping Beauty (Grand Theatre Blackpool), Ensemble in Kerry Ellis Live at the Palladium (London Palladium), Ensemble at the Olivier Awards 2013 and 2014 (Royal Opera House), Ensemble in Cinderella (White Rock Theatre Hastings).