The Divine Mrs S

The City Adventurers headed to Hampstead Theatre for another World Premiere. This time we were seeing April De Angelis’ backstage comedy “The Divine Mrs S”. The play tells the story of Mrs Sarah Siddons and the origins of celebrity culture in the 18th-century.

About The Divine Mrs S

Drury Lane, 1800. Mrs Sarah Siddons, universally acclaimed as the greatest actress of all time, holds complete sway over public and critics alike. But she is herself subject to direction from the men in her life – her bone-headed brother who runs the theatre and chooses her roles, and her faithless husband who signs her contracts and collects her fees. Siddons decides it’s time become the leading lady of her own life, harnessing her star power as the world’s first female celebrity and taking control of her own destiny – but she reckons without the absurdly comic plot-twists of a life on the stage…

The Divine Mrs S - photo by Juliamaud
The Divine Mrs S – photo by Juliamaud

The Divine Mrs S is set in and around the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in 1800. The Mrs S of the title is Mrs Sarah Siddons, the best-known tragedienne of the 18th century and the undisputed Queen of Drury Lane. Most famous for her portrayal of Lady Macbeth, she was also well known for playing Hamlet. The play also includes reference to Mr Siddons, the unseen philandering husband of Sarah, and to the deaths of two of Sarah’s children.

It was a fantastic performance by Rachael Stirling as Sarah Siddons, who commanded the stage at all times. Dominic Rowan was wonderful as her younger brother John Philip Kemble, the actor-manager of the theatre, who switched from his “on stage” persona to backstage persona with ease.

Anushka Chakravarti played Patti, Siddons’s young dresser and supporter with humour. Sadie Shimmin, as the censor’s wife, embodied the character who needed to be won over as she told him what to think. The theatre critic (Boaden) was played by Gareth Snook, who also played the portrait artist (Sir Thomas Lawrence)  and an injured actor seeking a benefit performance.

Eva Feiler juggled four roles during the performance, one being Clara, the censor’s daughter who endured an unhappy marriage until going mad. Perhaps her most striking role, however, was that of Joanna Baillie. At a time when women witters were not taken seriously, Joanna Baillie was a Scottish poet and dramatist. She wrote the Gothic tragedy De Monfort, which was produced at Drury Lane in 1800 with John Kemble and Sarah Siddons in the leading roles. Joanna Baillie also wrote Orra, a gothic tragedy.

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The UK based Social Club for people who love visiting shows, exploring new places, discovering new things and solving mysteries.
Life is a journey so experience it’s adventure with like minded people. Live the life you’ve always dreamed of. City Adventurers Membership includes invitations to adventures and travel mainly in the UK

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