The Scarlet Pimpernel, the egg, Bath Theatre Royal

BARONESS Orczy’s thrilling tale of international espionage, The Scarlet Pimp­ernel, first published in 1905, is the inspiration for Chris­to­pher William Hill’s Christ­mas show at the egg in Bath.

Kate Cross’s production, on until 13th Janu­ary, fills the stage with poodles, wigs and food as well as swashbuckling adventures. The moral complexities of the original children’s novel are lost in the fun, and the kids in the audience love the chance to take sides, giggle at the rude jokes and marvel at the disguises as this five-strong ens­em­ble bring 22 Englishmen and women and countless French citizens to life in the days of the Revolution. The guillotine is a great favourite with the more blood-thirsty in the audience, and they will soon realise that it’s OK to boo and hiss the villain (the BOVTS graduate Dominic Allen, relishing the role of Chop-head Chauvelin.)

Emile Clarke returns after his scene stealing performance in the award winning 2017/18 egg show The Little Mermaid, this time in the title role, which has been changed (though not in the programme or publicity) to The Scarlet Pimple. Is he a foolish fop or a brilliant brave hero?

With Dan Wheeler as a beardy swot, Philippa Hogg as a vain poodle fancier and Laura Matthews as a very surprised Marguerite, and all of them playing all the other roles, there’s endless fun and games as the Pimple saves the aristos from the revolting French. Perhaps it’s the perfect show for the Brexit Christmas, and it’s certainly much more entertaining than Theresa facing Jeremy and Jacob over the backstop buffet.


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