It’s not often that you come out of a show, having known nothing about the subject matter before hand but suddenly being obsessed with immediately googling to find out more. Fanny – A New Musichall at the Vaults Festival does just that.
On entering the venue we are handed a song sheet, being told that joining in is warmly encouraged (although not compulsory) and a gin is recommended.
Fanny is rehearsing for her Drury Lane debut during the times of the infamous Contagious Diseases Acts of the 1860s. Fanny tells the funny and tragic story of her friend Elsie using music hall performance to spin her tale.
This is a dark and funny account of a horrifying piece of lost British history. Sung along with classic songs from the Music Hall, like you’ve never been heard them before.
Lizzie Wofford is a versatile and multi talented performer and holds the attention of the audience throughout the sixty-minute performance, along with some help from her long suffering pianist Arthur, who brilliantly helps play some of the characters (albeit reluctantly).
The Contagious Diseases Acts of the 1860’s doesn’t sound like an exciting concept for a show but really it is about the beginning of the feminist movement, where women decided it was time to stand up against men and fight for equal rights. Something sadly, more than 150 years later, that is still something happening in the world.
Fanny is a deeply thought-provoking piece of theatre that will whisk you back to a time long ago where things were sadly, very much the same as they are now.
Reviewed by West End Wilma