Perilous stage life
By April de Angelis
Her Infinite Variety Ensemble
The Guild Studio, East Perth
REVIEW DAVID ZAMPATTI
British playwright April de Angelis' Playhouse Creatures is the best kind of historical drama. Firmly based on, but not bound by, real events and characters, it illuminates an era without either lecturing or tutoring.
In 1669, five pioneering actresses in Thomas Betterton's Duke's Company gossip, compete and compare notes backstage. Three of the five, Betterton's wife Mary (Angelique Malcolm), the beauty Rebecca Marshall (Summer Williams) and the tragic Elizabeth Farley (Tiffany Barton) were notable performers in the Restoration Theatre of the 1660s. One, Samuel Pepys' "pretty, witty" Nell Gwynn (Rhoda Lopez), went on to a king's bed and a place in history. The fifth, Katherine Corey (Claire Munday), who was nicknamed Doll Common - also by Pepys - is here more the character from Ben Jonson's The Alchemist than the actress who played her, but that's by the bye.
- Playhouse Creatures - I've heard of it; it sounds interesting. But neither Nell Gwynn nor Katherine Corey were ever part of the Duke's Company! King's ladies, both.