Set in a Certain Part of southern England in the 1930s, this farce by Ken Ludwig centres on two down-on-their-luck Shakespearean actors, Leo Clark and Jack Gable. The pair discover that Florence, an elderly ailing woman, is trying to find Max and Steve, her sister’s children, in order to include them in her multi-million dollar inheritance, so they decide to pose as Max and Steve to claim it. When they discover that ‘Max’ and ‘Steve’ are actually ‘Maxine’ and ‘Stephanie’, they continue, undaunted, in drag. Complications ensue as identities (and genders) are mistaken.  Slapstick goofiness, scrambled Shakespeare and good-natured laughs make’ Leading Ladies’ an irresistible treat.

Ken Ludwig is an internationally-acclaimed playwright whose many hits on Broadway, in the West End and throughout the world have made his name synonymous with modern comedy.  He has almost single-handedly kept alive the sense of humour of Billy Wilder, Preston Sturgis, George S. Kaufman and the Marx Brothers.  With ‘Lend Me a Tenor’ (also produced at the Apollo in 2002-3), Ludwig established himself as the playwright to look to for the fast and furious comedic stylings of those masters: the New York Times called it ‘one of the two great farces by a living writer’.  He has won the Laurence Olivier award – Britain’s highest theatre honour – as well as three Tony Award nominations and two Helen Hayes awards, and his work has been commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company and performed in more than twenty languages in thirty countries.

Our sponsor

This production is kindly sponsored by R Dixcey.  Dixcey Landscapes provides a total commercial and private landscaping and fencing service for clients throughout the Isle of Wight.


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