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Dame Nature: The Magnificent Bearded Lady (Wilton’s Music Hall, London): Review

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Blissful, breathtakingly bittersweet, and beautifully beardy, Dame Nature: The Magnificent Bearded Lady is far more than just facial fluff.

Cheryl is ready to give her famed sideshow for which she has been touring with her manager-cum-husband for 23 years. Cheryl’s act it that she’s a genuine bearded lady. However, her husband has broken his foot and therefore, for the first time in over two decades, she has to perform alone. But this won’t be the usual show, this will be her show. Dame Nature: The Magnificent Bearded Lady is a show the bearded ladies of yester year, Cheryl’s obsessions with Phil Collins, her beard maintenance routine (oil, moisturise, comb, repeat), her creative zest for couture fashion, and about her life performing at Green King pubs and functions rooms across East Anglia as Dame Nature.

Havoc Theatre’s creation takes staple stars of the Victorian music hall side show and brings them up to date and into the modern world. Actor Tim Bell stars as the titular fantastically facially-follicled femme, and he and Dame Nature: The Magnificent Bearded Lady delves us into the world of bearded ladies and their sheltered, often exploited, lives. Dame Nature: The Magnificent Bearded Lady is darkly comic, intensely tragic, and very very hairy.

Dame Nature: The Magnificent Bearded Lady is the debut show by Havoc Theatre, fresh from it’s 2016 Edinburgh Fringe Festival run, directed by Laurence Cook, and is produced with Bristol Old Vic Ferment. Havoc Theatre was set up by Bell, who previously had worked with Shanty Theatre Company. Bell himself is the grandson of a genuine music hall performer, making the character, story, and venue of Wilton’s Music Hall, right up his alley.

Dame Nature: The Magnificent Bearded Lady was reviewed during it’s run at Wilton’s Music Hall, London, E1 8JB, 10 – 14 January 2017. For more information about Havoc Theatre, visit www.havoctheatre.com.