John Thomson to guest in ‘Naturally Insane’
Booking now open.
Naturally Insane!The Life of Dan Leno, starring Steve Royle on 15th November 3 & 7.30pm at London’s Criterion Theatre. Special guest appearance by actor and comedian John Thomson who will play Herbert Beerbohm Tree.
“A play that captures the heart and soul and genius of our greatest Victorian comedian…” Roy Hudd OBE. “Unique, heartfelt production…” Peter Kay “Comical, gripping, poignant…” Lancashire Evening Post.
Dan Leno was the most famous music-hall and Drury Lane pantomime star of the late Victorian and early Edwardian era. His name lives on in legend – his early death in 1904 at the age of 43 meant he was never immortalised in film. He did influence comedians like Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel among others. Born George Wild Galvin in 1860 in Somers Town near King’s Cross Station in London. The cottage was demolished as part of the clearance of a slum area to make way for St Pancras Station. According to Dan, the site of the cottage is about halfway down platform one and to the left! His early childhood was spent touring the northern music halls as part of his step-father’s act ‘The Lenos’ – he then went on to be billed with his brother Henry as ‘The Great Little Leno’s’. Their act involved tumbling, juggling, contortions and comedy capers. He would later become the preeminent pantomime star at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, where he created the role of Mother Goose and other pantomime traditions that carry on to this day.
The play is set in the last weeks of Dan Leno’s life and we discover his story as we meet his wife, Lydia, and his brother, Henry. His struggles with an undiagnosed brain tumour, mental health issues and a love of gin. We also meet Herbert Beerbohm Tree, who Dan discussed his ambition of playing a Shakespeare role with, and also his Doctor who mistreated him for both insanity and syphilis.