The Pleasure Garden, inspired by the history of south London’s Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, premieres this month at Above the Stag Theatre, set on the edge of the modern-day park. The brand-new musical runs from 15 September to 17 October 2021, with a press night on 23 September.
A wildly funny new musical will take a peek through the bushes to discover and celebrate Vauxhall’s history as a hedonistic playground
For two centuries, the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens drew enormous crowds for its circus acts, balloon rides, orchestral concerts and spectacular fireworks. For those in the know, however, the darker paths, wooded corners and intimate arbours were used for more illicit and illegal entertainments. But now it’s 1850 and the gardens are in their dying days. Yet still the faithful come…
Tom Reckless, a handsome young gardener, is torn between the affections of a hopelessly romantic shipping clerk and a sexually voracious aristocratic couple. With the gardens closing and his livelihood under threat, will Tom choose a bohemian life with Ralph; employment with the unorthodox Lord and Lady Lovelock; or answer the drumbeat of a looming overseas war?
The Pleasure Garden has a book and lyrics by Glenn Chandler, with music by Charles Miller. It’s directed by Fenton Gray, with musical direction by seven times Off West End Award nominee Aaron Clingham, choreography by Carole Todd, set and costumes are designed by David Shields and lighting by Jack Wills.
The cast features Sam Baumal as Tom Reckless, Jay Worley as Ralph Pottinger, Jonathan Harlaw as Albert, Rory-Charlie Campbell as Lord Roger Lovelock, Ashleigh Harvey as Lady Maude Lovelock, Jennie Jacobs as Captain Antrobus and Steve Watts as The Hermit.
The Pleasure Garden runs from 15 September to 17 October 2021 at the Above the Stag Theatre, 72 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7TP, with performances Wednesdays to Saturdays at 7.30pm, matinees Saturdays and Sundays at 3.30pm. Tickets from £24. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!
Glenn Chandler and Charles Miller previously collaborated on pastiche music hall musical Fanny and Stella: The Shocking True Story, which centred on two real-life Victorian cross-dressers who were arrested in 1870 for homosexual offences. It premiered in 2015 at Above the Stag, where it returned by popular demand in 2020.
Writer Glenn Chandler’s string of hits at the Edinburgh Fringe include the award-winning The Good Scout and Kids Play, Lord Dismiss Us and Sandel, all of which transferred to Above The Stag Theatre. For television, he created the long-running detective show Taggart.
Composer Charles Miller’s other musicals include the highly-acclaimed Brenda Bly: Teen Detective and When Midnight Strikes, which have been produced throughout the UK, US and Europe. His songs are frequently performed on the cabaret circuits in London and New York and have been recorded by, amongst others, Caroline O’Connor, Julie Atherton and Pia Douwes.
Director Fenton Gray‘s other credits include Cinderella starring Mickey Rooney, Julian Clary’s Off-Broadway one-man-show Amore, The Mikado at The Royal Festival Hall, and numerous operas including Madam Butterfly, Carmen and Turandot.