A Victorian confidence trickster is the subject of a fascinating comedy drama having its world premiere at Greenwich Theatre from 13 – 23 July.
Chinese Whispers, written and directed by prolific local actor Ian Lindsay, tells the story of Sir Edmund Trelawny Backhouse who, among many other things, sold non-existent battleships to the famous John Brown’s shipyard. He also donated eight tons of Chinese manuscripts to the Bodleian Library at Oxford University, but it’s widely believed they were forgeries by Backhouse, who spoke several languages including Chinese.
“I think what Backhouse did was awful,” said Ian Lindsay, “but he was an amazing scholar. There was nothing glamorous about him but there was this brilliance of the mind.”
Based on the bizarre life of the confidence trickster of the Victorian age, who pulled off a string of audacious swindles against entire nations, the show is a highly-comic look at the notorious exploits of a man who claimed to have salacious affairs with everyone from Oscar Wilde to the Empress Dowager Cixi of China.
Best known for his appearances in Men Behaving Badly as George, director Ian Lindsay has had a career on stage and screen stretching back five decades, with roles in TV favourites including Z Cars, Casualty, EastEnders, Coronation Street, Benidorm and many more.
On the big screen Ian appeared in Mike Bassett: England Manager, The Tall Guy and Little Dorrit. He is the best selling author of How To Kill A Yob.
For more information and tickets, visit the Greenwich Theatre’s website.