Bright Young Productions, a mainly female group, and their director Samantha Losey do the play and its themes proud. Last seen directing Beckett's Endgame, Ms Losey finds just the right balance between the serious themes and the broad, earthy comedy. The twin sets of dressing room and auditorium work well, and the dressing room design is a delight.
Best of all however is the terrific ensemble acting that Ms Losey coaxes from her players, each of whom give generously of themselves in the group ethic as each character changes in the course of the action. Ellen Buddle is a nicely put-upon but spirited dresser, Hannah Martin an increasingly vital Mrs Marshall, and her duet with Nell Gwyn as a French maid is full of elan. Nell herself (the sparky Roseanna Frascona) has somehow to convince us that the King indulged in a seventeen year affair with her following the events of the play, and if she does not quite bring that off, it's because the part is a little thinly written in this regard. Cicely Hadman's is a subtle rendering of the sometimes acerbic but ultimately doomed Mrs Farley. Martha May as Mrs Betterton, the theatre manager's wife, handles her soliloquies, which are at the heart of the drama, movingly.
If the pace and thrust of the play flag just a little in the last ten minutes, this is a minor blip on the overall quality of the drama. Go and enjoy!