Mercurius Theatre's Indebted to Chance and The Recruiting Officer which will be playing in repertory throughout November at the Old Red Lion in Islington.

Mercurius Theatre at The Old Red Lion

Indebted to Chance or The Unaccountable Life of Mrs Charlotte Charke

It's 1744 and Charlotte Charke, actress, writer, landlady, grocer, pig-rearer, puppet master, highwayman, transvestite and daughter of the famous actor manager Colley Cibber, is rehearsing for a production of The Recruiting Officer with her company at the James Street Tennis Courts. The self-titled 'nonpareil of the age' somehow finds herself caught up in a misunderstanding and in debtor's jail. Again. Can Charlotte talk her way out of prison, off the streets and back into her beloved theatre?

Charlotte Charke disappeared from history soon after her death in 1760. She was one of the first women in history to live some of her life as a man, both on and off the stage. She was lauded as one of the great actresses of her day and left us an autobiography, A Narrative of the Life of Mrs Charlotte Charke, one of the very first examples of writing of its kind by a woman.

Indebted to Chance, a new play by Charlie Ryall, explores various events in Charlotte's life and plays in repertory, with the same cast, with...

The Recruiting Officer

Shrewsbury, 2014. Captain Plume has returned from Syria under orders to recruit for the continued conflict. He is not confident that the prospect of fighting for the good of Queen and country will be reward enough for the unsuspecting locals, so he has to resort to more underhand measures. Whilst there, he encounters his old flame, Silvia, who has rather more to test him with than he bargained for.

Written in 1706, The Recruiting Officer gives a no-holds-barred account of the methods and tactics of warfare. In its scathing satire of the lengths to which those in authority will go to obtain what they want, it finds an easy home in the 21st Century.

Director: Jenny Eastop

Cast: Lydia Bakelmun, Daniel Barry, Susannah Edgley, Beth Eyre, Benjamin Garrison, Elliot Mitchell, Charlie Ryall, Andy Secombe

The press on Jenny Eastop:

"Director Jenny Eastop's production brims with charm... the show is a pick-me-up which put a smile on my face" ???? The Observer on The Biograph Girl, Finborough Theatre "Beautifully brought to light in the detailed direction of Jenny Eastop" ???? The Arts Desk on Mr Gillie, Finborough Theatre "Bang on direction by Jenny Eastop" ???? WhatsOnStage on Warde Street, Park Theatre

The press on Charlie Ryall:

"Lady Macbeth (Ryall) is played with an acerbic subtlety... it is a joy to watch her" One Stop Arts, Macbeth, Lion and Unicorn "Charlie Ryall's Cordelia is a bedrock of stern authority" Time Out, King Lear, Cockpit Theatre "Ryall is without doubt the most perfect actor to play this well-known lead [Beatrice]. Whoever cast her is a genius" A Younger Theatre, Much Ado About Nothing, Drayton Arms

6th November - 1st December | Tuesday to Saturday 7.30pm | Saturday & Sunday matinees 3pm

Indebted to Chance Press Night Thursday 8th Nov 7.30pm | Recruiting Officer Press Night Friday 9th Nov 7.30pm

Tickets Full price £16 / Concession £12 | Previews 6th/7th Nov £10 | Double bill ticket deal £28/£20

Old Red Lion Theatre 418 St John Street Islington EC1V 4NJ Nearest tube: Angel

Box Office 0333 012 4963 |

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