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Nell Gwynn at Shakespeare's Globe

Home > London > Theatre Reviews | Theatre | Comedy
by Alison Brinkworth (subscribe)
Freelance journalist in Birmingham with a passion for the dynamic theatre, art, food and fashion scene in Britain's 'Second City'.
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Award-winning Comedy Is Hottest Ticket In Town
Returning to Shakespeare's Globe in London from a national tour, Nell Gwynn is set to be one of the hottest theatre tickets in the city.

nell gwynn, shakespeare's globe, uk tour review
The vivacious comedy Nell Gwynn returns to London


Its tour came on the back of huge success (it won the 2016 Olivier Award for Best New Comedy) and this production maintains all that witty sparkle with the added boost of a fine cast.

I caught the show during the tour when it was at Malvern Theatres in March and ahead of its performances at Shakespeare's Globe on Bankside from May 2 to 13.

Following the love story of King Charles II and his famous mistress, actress Nell Gwynn, it has a gloriously lavish set that manages to cleverly combine a 17th Century theatre with the royal palace.

nell gwynn, shakespeare's globe, uk tour review
Playing King Charles II is the excellent Ben Righton


Writer Jessica Swale has created a love story from what is a Cinderella tale of an orange-seller who catches the eye and heart of the king. It's also very much a love story about acting too and the history of theatre at a time when women were starting to emerge on stage instead of boy actors in the female roles.

What's refreshing is that this lively romp is also very feminist in nature. The comedy skips along at a lively pace, even including current jokes about Brexit.

It follows on from Swale's well-received debut Blue Stockings, which celebrated the first women to get a university education. She is giving women not just a voice but complex and interesting characters to play on stage.

You can tell that Laura Pitt-Pulford relishes the lead role of Nell and shines bright with boldness and audacity that makes it obvious why she would attract a king.

nell gwynn, shakespeare's globe, uk tour review
Laura Pitt-Pulford obviously relishes the role of Nell.


Swale also gives Nell's lovers - actor Charles Hart (Same Marks), who gives Nell her big break, and the King (Ben Righton), more depth than just pretty faces. There's also an animated, lovable group of supporting players from Nell's theatre troupe.

The play presented by English Touring Theatre was co-produced with Shakespeare's Globe, where it was first performed, so it is fitting that this is where the tour will conclude.

It's an unmissable comedy that deserved its Olivier Award, so tickets are sure to sell fast.
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Why? See Olivier Award winner of the best comedy award
When: May 2 - 13, 2017
Phone: 020 7401 9919
Where: Shakespeare's Globe
Cost: £5 - £45
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