Michael Oakley directs the world premiere of April De Angelis’s Infamous, starring the mother and daughter team of Caroline Quentin and Rose Quentin.
Emma Hamilton is the name on everyone’s lips. Her Attitudes are the latest dance craze sweeping Europe, inspiring a generation of artists from Romney to Goethe. But Emma doesn’t want to be somebody’s muse – she wants to be the somebody. With rumours of Nelson’s imminent arrival swirling around Naples, Emma knows exactly which pose to strike to catch his attention and leave her mark on history. Or so she thinks…
The extraordinary life of Emma Hamilton bursts out of the history books and onto the stage as April De Angelis reunites with director Michael Oakley to set the record straight on one of the most famous figures in Georgian society.
Infamous is at Jermyn Street Theatre 7th September to 7th October 2023.
You’re bringing the world premiere of April De Angelis’s Infamous to Jermyn Street Theatre, what can you tell us about the play?
Infamous charts the rise and fall of Emma Hamilton – a truly unique personality way ahead of her time; it’s incredible to think she lived over 200 years ago. It explores the fickle nature of celebrity and fame – and what has to be repressed or hidden (especially for women) to survive and make it big.
What was it about April De Angelis’s script that appealed to you the most?
This is the fifth production I’ve directed by April De Angelis. I love the style of her work, the stories she chooses to tell and the way she tells them with wit, humour and darkness. So when the prospect of this project came up, I jumped at it.
It stars the mother and daughter team of Caroline Quentin and Rose Quentin, what do you think they’re real life relationship brings to the production?
So much! The play examines the dynamics of parent/child relationships and it’s been amazing to be in rehearsals with a real life pair. There are small and magical things happening that – with the best will in the world – could never happen between actors who aren’t related. I’m biased of course – but I think it brings a priceless chemistry to the play and hopefully gives it deeper and greater meaning.
What’s been the biggest challenge for you directing Infamous?
That’s hard to answer, directing a play is always a challenge! I suppose doing a play in an exceptionally tiny space has been the biggest challenge. It’s so small that every detail has to be carefully thought through in how it communicates to the audience as they see everything. But that’s also been the joy of it. I’ve loved rehearsing this and have been blessed with a truly exceptional team.
What makes Jermyn Street Theatre the perfect venue for this play?
Again I’m biased – and I don’t always feel this – but on this occasion I truly believe there is no better venue than Jermyn Street Theatre for this play. Without giving too much away – it’s very important for the audience to feel that they are in the same rooms(!) as the characters. Sometimes it works for an audience to ‘look upon’ a play. In this case they’re in it with us.
What would you say to anyone thinking of booking Infamous?
Come and see a truly remarkable story, about a truly remarkable person, brought to life by truly remarkable actors.
Infamous runs at Jermyn Street Theatre from 07 September to 07 October