REVIEW: Wallingford's Nell Gwynn was funny, cheeky and worth the watch
AS well as leaving the theatre with the pivotal song stuck in my head, much to the delight of my friend who had to listen to me sing it on the car ride home, I was left with one burning question…who was the actor playing Charles Hart that STOLE the show?
His name is Jack Prince and he was playing the role of a prominent Restoration actor in a production of Nell Gwynn, a play about a famous actress who was one of the first women allowed on the stage in the 17th century, trained by Mr Hart.
The production is being put on currently by Wallingford’s performing arts group Sinodun Players at the Corn Exchange theatre which was full to the brim on Thursday (26) evening.
READ MORE: Review - Generous servings and fancy decorations at The Bull on Bell Street in Henley
I wasn’t sure what to expect from the play, which was written by British playwright Jessica Swale, having briefly read the plotline and then getting it confused with Henry VIII a day later after a lack of coffee.
But I was pleasantly surprised to find I couldn’t stifle my giggles, along with the rest of the audience, at the brazen characters and their racy interactions in a very important historical story about a notable period – women being allowed on stage.
And I am glad Charles II changed the rules and allowed actresses to come into the light because Sophie Beaumont, who played the titular character, was fantastic.
She really encapsulated Ms Gwynn’s witty and humorous attitude from the moment she walked on stage, ready to show Ms Gwynn being trained by Mr Hart after heckling the playhouse.
READ MORE: Wallingford cafe has been reviewed by world famous critic Jay Rayner
My main take away was that watching the character of Mr Hart made me forget I was in the theatre. It seemed so effortless, comical, and moving in all the right places and he definitely stole the show.
Now…some people may say it is a bit awkward watching your old drama teacher from about seven years ago making sexual innuendos on stage.
I can confirm that it is.
However, Drew Morris made an excellent Charles II and even made the audience tense when feeling the royal presence in the room.
I may be biased but I never expected anything less after five years of learning about his theatre expertise.
“I can dance and I can sing and I am good at either” was chiming through my head for an hour after leaving the theatre after the cast of 16 performed it twice.
READ MORE: Oxford Playhouse show brings girl power to stage
I am not quite sure the play has the feminist message it intended – with Gwynn only returning to the theatre after the death of Charles II – but that is historic accuracy for you.
A brilliant performance and well worth the watch.
Read more from this author
This story was written by Gee Harland, she joined the team in 2022 as a senior multimedia reporter.
Gee covers Wallingford and Didcot.
Get in touch with her by emailing: Gee.email@example.com
Follow her on Twitter @Geeharland
A message from our Editor
Thank you for reading this story and supporting the Oxford Mail.
If you like what we do please consider getting a subscription for the Oxford Mail and in return we’ll give you unrestricted access with less adverts across our website from the latest news, investigations, features, and sport.
Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tik Tok for more.
You can also join the conversation in our Facebook groups: stay ahead of traffic alerts here, keep up to date with the latest from court here, share your favourite memories of Oxford here, get your daily dose of celebrity news here and take some time out with news that will make you smile.
If you’ve got a story for our reporters, send us your news here. You can also list an event for free here.