Nell Gwynn was a phenomenon in her day. She was born in a ‘bawdy house’ and she eventually became a favoured royal mistress. In between those two extremes, she was a loved thespian for 7 years.
When she took to the stage in 1666, with her ‘saucy personality, quick attractive wit and lighting repartee’ and her clear ‘audience-audible’ diction (from selling herrings and oysters as a street vendor), she was a natural performer. Beyond her penetrating voice, she had a beguiling confidence and a brilliant sense of timing.
The same could be said of Claire Chitham, the Auckland actress who is bringing Nell to life in Auckland Theatre Company’s latest production: Jessica Swale’s Nell Gwynn.
Nell Gwynn is halfway through its short season at the ASB Waterfront Theatre.
Liz Gunn discussed the season thus far, with Claire Chitham for 13th Floor Arts. Claire’s passion for her role is patently clear.
As a postscript, Liz underlines the urgency of getting along to see this unmissable production – along with a plea to organisers to extend the season for a few more weeks if at all possible!