The Finborough Theatre is one of London’s small multi-award-winning 50 seater Theatre. It is situated on the second floor up the stairs through the bar area. It would be very easy to miss this little gem tucked away on Finborough Road in Kensington.
Jeannie is a superb play by Aimée Stuart. First performed in 1940, now returning to the stage for the first time after 80 years. Set in 1936 in a little town in Scotland, we are introduced to downtrodden Jeannie who is expected to take care of her Father and their home since the death of her mother. He has staunch ideas about a woman’s role within the house, nowadays this is viewed as sexist and controlling. However, very typical of attitudes from that day gone by era. The couple is featured in the photo above.
After his death, Jeannie decides to take her inheritance of £200 and enjoy a no expense spared holiday. After years of confinement and never being allowed to go anywhere, she wants to finally live and see what the world has to offer.
Her first encounter is the widowed businessman Stanley Smith, as seen above. He is an inventor and travelling on business to a Vienna fair to promote and sell his new washing machine. Despite a wandering eye, his intentions towards her are honourable.
Secondly, she is wooed by the unscrupulous penniless Count who is living off his title and smooth talks Jeannie into believing he loves her and wishes to make her his wife. While all the while spending her money on trips to the Opera and fine dining.
The scene changes are performed smoothly on the confined stage area. The array of props used in dressing the stage transform it from Scotland, Vienna and back again. The costumes have been chosen perfectly to define the status of each character. The red dress worn by Madeleine Hutchins as The Blonde is exceptional and can be seen in the picture below.
With a fantastic acting cast, the play takes Jeannie from rags to riches to rags and riches. A real credit to the director who has fitted a lot of details into this two-hour long production. However, it never feels rushed or unfinished. Concluding in a Cinderella-style ending as he proposes to her in the final scene, as pictured above.
Photographs courtesy of Ali Wright.
Running from Tuesday 27th November to Saturday 22nd December.
118 Finborough Road,