A tale of romance at the Masque

Dennis Benneyworth and Leanne Ferreira in The Barretts of Wimpole Street, inspired by the the true-life love story of Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning.

The Barretts of Wimpole Street opens at the Masque Theatre, Muizenberg, tommorrow Friday July 22.

This tale of romance, inspired by the true-life love story of Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning, was written in 1930, and was playwright Rudolf Besier’s biggest success of his career.

The setting is 1845, and Elizabeth is an invalid after suffering a riding accident which, it was said, injured her spine. From her sofa she has corresponded with many of the great literary figures of the day and written poetry, which has been acclaimed as great. However, her frailty has denied her any mobility and normal life at all. Like an enchanted prince, Robert Browning comes to break the prison walls. Admiration for her work leads him to Elizabeth and his love for her seems to instill vitality into her. They wish to marry, but their greatest obstacle is not Elizabeth’s health but her father, whose tyrannical attitude to his children seems to ruin any chance of happiness.

The large cast features several names that are well-known to Masque audiences, including John McConnell, Jane Cohen, Erika Marais, Dennis Benneyworth, Wayne Ronne and Aubrey Hindle. Directing this beautiful period piece is CATA winner Barrie Howard, who was last seen at the Masque at the helm of the Valentine’s Soiree in 2015 and the hugely successful Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in 2014.

The Barretts of Wimpole Street is presented by Fish Hoek Dramatic Society and is their first production for 2016. Last year, this society brought us the hilarious comedy The Sunshine Boys and the thriller House Guest.

The Barretts of Wimpole Street opens at the Masque Theatre, Muizenberg, tomorrow Friday July 22 and runs until Saturday July 30 – excluding Sunday to Wednesday. Book through Masque Theatre Bookings on 021 788 1898 (weekdays from 9am to 4pm and Saturdays from 9am to noon). Alternatively, you can email bookings@ masquetheatre.co.za