A Tailor for Ladies post-show Q&A. © Anthony Kelly

A Tailor for Ladies post-show Q&A at the Cockpit Theatre. © Anthony Kelly

If you think the life of a jobbing actor is hard and full of rejection – and it is – spare a thought for non-British actors trying to make their way in London theatre who may not even make it to audition stage purely because of their nationality or accent.

Having first-hand experience of the imbalance in the number of casting calls for British versus non-British actors, Greek actress Penny Tomai set up Medley Theatre Company last year to create work featuring under-represented foreign talents.

This new production of Georges Feydeau’s early 1886 farce A Tailor for Ladies, which Penny has translated and co-adapted with director Lee James Broadwood, marks Medley’s debut, with a two-week season at London’s Cockpit Theatre where an international ensemble switches up halfway to allow actors to take on different roles.

Dr Moulineaux has a little pickle. He has spent the night out meeting his mistress and his wife has found his empty bed!

Luckily, he’s an incredible deceiver. But perhaps after disguising himself as a dressmaker and hurtling down into a web of lies, the doctor might have gone too far this time.

Extravagant and camp, it presents high-class society in its most self-indulgent and frivolous form.

The emphasis with Medley is on inclusion. That means permitting few Brits in the company too, not least the director, as well as making LGBTQIA+ friendly plot updates and putting accessibility at the forefront. At every performance, touch tours are available for the visually impaired, and there are English surtitles for the hearing impaired, as well as, for those for whom English is not their first language, additional captions in French, Greek, Italian, Polish and Spanish.

At the post-show talk for A Tailor for Ladies, I discussed internationalism and inclusivity, Feydeau and farce, London versus the regions, performing on crutches, and the vagaries of Arts Council funding with (from l-r) cast members Dean Mantos, Kit Nichols and Val Marciano, producer William Nelson, director and co-adapter Lee James Broadwood, translator, co-adapter and cast member Penny Tomai, and cast members Juan Jose Galeano Paraja, Massimo Stella, Amir Ebrahim, Fabrizio Tullio, Su-Lyn Chow-Seegolam and Giulia Frani.

A Tailor for Ladies runs at London’s Cockpit Theatre until 19 March 2023.

Q&A video

Q&A photos

Event photography by Anthony Kelly.

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