Ruth Leon recommends…Masks and Faces – Finborough TheatreRuth Leon recommends
Masks and Faces – Finborough Theatre
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July 28-Aug 5
First performed in 1852, Masks and Faces is rooted in Kensington and Chelsea and the local area around the Finborough Theatre. It provided Dame Ellen Terry – a former resident of Finborough Road, and a long term resident of Earl’s Court – with one of her first and most successful leading roles.
In the tradition of The School for Scandal and The Rivals, Masks and Faces is both a 18th century period caper and a tribute to the backstage world of the theatre, complete with the hapless failed playwright, Triplet, and his hungry family, to real-life writer Colley Cibber, and the ghastly critics Soaper and Snarl, played by two real-life former critics, Michael Billington and Fiona Mountford.
Country gentleman Ernest Vane comes to London and is seduced into the celebrity lifestyle of a group of players – soon discarding his new wife for the more obvious charms of the great stage actress Peg Woffington.
Set in the 18th century, written in the 19th century, filmed in the 20th century (with an all-star cast), and now presented for the first time online, Masks and Faces is a celebration of making theatre.
The production is supported by the Friends of Brompton Cemetery, next to the Finborough Theatre, where the co-author Tom Taylor, and actors Ben Webster and Sir Squire and Lady Bancroft – all known for their roles in Masks and Faces – lie buried.
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