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Glorious! (2020)

The true story of Florence Foster Jenkins, the worst singer in the world

Jan 25th to Feb 1st 2020

Written by Peter Quilter

Directed by Anne-marie Greene

The true story of Florence Foster Jenkins, the worst singer in the world

In 1940's New York, the performer who everyone wanted to see live was Florence Foster Jenkins, an enthusiastic soprano whose pitch was far from perfect. Known as 'the first lady of the sliding scale', she warbled and screeched her way through the evening to an audience who mostly fell about with laughter. But this delusional and joyously happy woman paid little attention to her critics, instead she was surrounded by a circle of devoted friends who were almost as eccentric as she was. This hilarious and heart-warming play is based upon a true story, which was recently adapted for the 2016 film starring Meryl Streep in the title role. However Quilter's play is arguably much funnier than the film, spinning from Florence's charity recitals and extravagant balls, through to her bizarre recording sessions and an ultimate triumph at Carnegie Hall. 

Reviews of the play

'this Glorious-ly funny production... a strong support cast make the most of the comic opportunities offered by a play that’s peppered with them. There’s even a funeral scene that reduced the audience to the kind of hysterics that must have rippled around Carnegie Hall when Florence was in full flow. Jan Nightingale... takes on the lead with the confidence and relish required. And she really has a voice to match her surname." Chris Arnot, 
'a brilliant tour-de-force by the cast of The Criterion... and perhaps appreciated most of all by the real singers among Saturday night's audience - some of whom were laughing so much they were in danger of needing resucitation.  Jan Nightingale really is comically sensational in the part of real-life, long-dead, would-be opera singer Florence Foster Jenkins. Only somebody with a truly remarkable voice could hit all those wrong notes with such precision.' Barbara Goulding 

'Jan Nightingale’s portrayal of Florence Foster Jenkins is simply marvellous...We genuinely feel for her. No small part of that affection comes from the love her character inspired in those closest to her, which warms the whole theatre... This is a play about character, rich in humour, touched with just a hint of tragedy. It is amusing rather than hilarious, beautifully played, and it leaves you with a warm feeling that maybe, just maybe, our illusions might be more than that, and that even in this cruel world there might be room for hope.' Nick Le Mesurier for the Leamington Courier