The Bitches' Ball (3 stars)

Well-choreographed portrayal of regency ‘it girl’

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This article is from 2007.

The Bitches' Ball

The reputation of 18th century poet, novelist and original ‘It Girl’, Mary Robinson, has been eclipsed by the streams of celebrity femme fatales who came in her wake. Penny Dreadful’s well-choreographed production seeks to redress this injustice, opening with the elderly Robinson, crippled by rheumatism and living in reduced circumstances. The supporting cast bursts into the space, all grotesque pancake stick, blusher and pencilled-in beauty spots, and we’re transported back to the great lady’s heyday, from early expectations and a disappointing marriage to achieving celebrity in the London theatre and courting notoriety as mistress to the Prince Regent.

This is a slick, sustained, if brash, lurid piece, which entertains in its cartoonishness. But the heavy focus on the fruitier aspects of her life means we’re none the wiser about Robinson’s artistic achievements and significance by the close. (Allan Radcliffe)

Assembly@Hill Street Theatre, 623 3030, until 27 Aug, 8.30pm, £11 (£9).

This article is from 2007.

The Bitches' Ball

  • 3 stars

Slick, sustained and well-choreographed production about the life of 18th century poet and original 'It Girl', Mary Robinson. Unfortunately, a heavy focus on the fruitier aspects of her life leaves the audience none the wiser about her artistic achievements.

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