Days of Music Hall revisited in Wisbech

One of Music Hall’s most controversial characters is being brought back to life at Wisbech’s Angles Theatre.

The Off The Fence Theatre Company’s production of England Expects – at the Alexandra Road theatre on Friday – will bring back to the stage Vesta Tilley in a fascinating exploration of a memorable time and character.

Teresa Jennings will play the role of Vesta – plus 11 other characters during the show!

Vesta Tilley was the very antithesis of one of Music Hall’s best-known characters, Marie Lloyd.

Whereas Marie was coarse and very working class, Vesta was sophisticated and middle class.

She was born Matilda Alice Powles in Worcester in 1864 and first took to the stage at the age of 6 in her guise of man-drag.

Her father was veteran comedy actor, songwriter and Music Hall chairman Harry Ball.

He steered her professional life and only relinquished his control when Vesta married Walter de Freece at the age of 26.

Her husband’s apirations to become an MP steered Vesta into a patriotic recruitment period in her professional life – but it was her realisation that the young men she was recruiting were going to their certain death or injury in war that led to her quitting performing in 1920.

The show, starting at 7.30pm, features many of Vesta’s most well-known songs, including Jolly Good Luck to the Girl who loves a Soldier and I’ve Got a Bit of a Blighty One.

Tickets are available from the Angles box office on 01945 474447, email priced at £11 (£9 concessions).

n If you buy a ticket for England Expects you will get the chance to buy a half-price ticket for Clamber Up The Crucifix, another World War One production by Off The Fence being staged at the Angles Theatre on Saturday, October 11.