"Be assured if ever I should marry, I should do so simply to be revenged on your whole sex …"
Rediscovering and celebrating the work of Victorian playwright J. P. Wooler (who died in 1868, the year the Finborough Theatre building was constructed - the exact 150th anniversary of his death will occur during this run of performances), A Winning Hazard is an evening of three of his comediettas which combine insightful observations on the hypocrisy and vanity of the English ruling class, coupled with characters and situations that are both deeply Victorian, but also vividly progressive in their views on gender, money, and class.
A Winning Hazard (1865) centres on Dudley Croker and Jack Crawley who are unsuccessfully vying for the hands of two young ladies, Aurora and Coralie Blythe.
When Dudley's uncle Colonel Croker threatens to exclude both of them from his will unless they marry, they decide to win their respective partners by concocting a fake duel …
This was the very first play produced by Marie Wilton (one of London's very earliest female theatre managers) at the Prince of Wales' Theatre in 1865, starring both herself and her future husband, Sir Squire Bancroft.
Both Sir Squire and Lady Bancroft are buried in Brompton Cemetery, close to the Finborough Theatre.
Allow Me to Apologise (1850s) sees Miss Fanny Fairlove get tangled in a cross dressing seduction intrigue with Mary Myrtle and Harriett Seymour.
Taking on her ward Goliah Goth's name and thus his male privileges, Miss Fairlove visits Harriett in Bath and rekindles the love they forged the previous summer, only to take it away with the arrival of Captain Seymour, the man who is hopelessly in love with Miss Fairlove and whom she decides to marry.
Orange Blossoms (1860s) - Septimus Symmetry is a famed woman-hater - until he is visited in his garden by his friends and relations who are determined to get him to face his greatest fear: marriage.
When his guests arrive, they discover that they all have histories of unfulfilled love - with each other.
And, to his horror, Septimus find himself besotted by Loo who is famed for her hatred of men.
He decides to upset the apple cart by reigniting old flames and fanning jealousy to prove his point about the absurdity of marriage and society.
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London SW10 9ED
Performance days & times
Sunday ‑ 7‑30pm
Monday ‑ 7‑30pm
Author: John Pratt Wooler
Composer: Julian Starr
Director: Phillip James Rouse
Designer: Martelle Hunt
Sound: Julian Starr
Production: The Hazard Project in association with Neil McPherson for the Finborough Theatre