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Lady Anna: All At Sea

Published August 21, 2015

What’s it all about?

Welcome to a world where men play cards while women perfect elaborate braided hairstyles that wouldn’t be out of place in a signature bread bake round. A world where marrying your first cousin is the ultimate prize, but where tailors are the sexiest option. A world where Anthony Trollope and his wife are aboard a ship to Australia where he is penning his latest novel Lady Anna.

Craig Baxter’s delicious escape from reality weaves in scenes of Trollope’s sea voyage with the story of Anna and her romantic and social entanglements as the cast change hats – literally sometimes – to play a myriad of characters, both ‘real’ and fictional.

Who’s in it?

A boisterous and fun Antonia Kinlay plays the title heroine, a girl brought up in poverty who, following the death of her estranged father, stands to inherit both riches and a place in society. Caroline Langrishe is brilliant as her ruthlessly ambitious mother possessed with a vicious – and entertaining – wrath.

As Anna’s love interests, Adam Scott-Rowley is the perfect harmless buffoon as Frederic, while Will Rastall gives an impassioned performance as tailor Will.

They all don an apron here, a maid’s hat there to play all the characters in Trollope’s world and imagination, with a strong performance by Tim Frances as the eccentric man himself.

What should I look out for?

Libby Watson’s literary-inspired set. Stacks of books help your imagination spring to life to conjure vivid images of high seas and ships, country streams and courtrooms.

Unexpected moments of slapstick and farce that Colin Blumenau directs perfectly to keep proceedings light and surprising.

In a nutshell?

Compelling, fun and frivolous: sail away with Lady Anna: All At Sea for this pleasingly romantic romp.

What’s being said on Twitter?

@HarrietUsher Utterly charmed by Mr Anthony Trollope and his gang @ParkTheatre last night, @TheProdExch Sumptuous joy! #LadyAnna

@jjohnstonmezzo Wonderful evening of theatre last night @ParkTheatre. @CraigBaxter’s Lady Anna: All At Sea was a total triumph, so enjoyable

Will I like it?

Well, it’s suddenly very clear where Julian Fellowes gets his inspiration… If you’re a Downton Abbey fan, this brings all the social class clashes and family battles of a good period drama romp to the stage, proving if you want a good romantic comedy, look no further than the 18th century.

Lady Anna: All At Sea is playing until 19 September. You can book tickets through the Park Theatre’s website.

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