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Review: The Second Mrs Tanqueray

By River Reporter Oct 19, 2012

Mary Poppins West End star Laura Michelle Kelly plays the role of a fallen lady trying to start a fresh life by marrying a wealthy widower.

The Second Mrs Tanqueray is one of the greatest British plays ever made, says The Times.

Originally written in 1893 by Sir Arthur Wing Pinero, this drama may not seem of relevance to the modern audience of today. However, Pinero managed to install a high level of psychological and social morality, keeping the play fresh and alive even to this day.

The revival of The Second Mrs Tanqueray is written by artistic director Steve Unwin.

Rich, gentle but determined widow Aubrey Tanqueray falls in love and remarries the beautiful, captivating Paula, a difficult woman who possesses a despicable past.

Paula’s past seems to be a distant haze, but little does she know, Mr Tanqueray’s angelic daughter, the convent educated Ellean from his first wife, will stir the waters in their relationship and even more so in her personal life.

Olivier award winning Laura Michelle Kelly, best known for her role as Mary Poppins in the West End, plays the grouchy and darkened character of Paula. Her husband Aubrey is played by James Wilby who has previously won the Best Actor Award at the Venice International Flm Festival for his title role in Maurice, alongside Hugh Grant.

Characters that also gave some colour to the play were Caley Drummle (Joseph Alessi), Aubrey’s boisterous friend, and Mrs Cotelyon (Jessica Turner).

Mrs Tanqueray’s new life is shattered by her stiff and innocent stepdaughter’s fate, when she comes across her ex-lover and army captain (Adam Jackson Smith) who becomes a suitor for Ellean ( Rona Morison).

Unwin’s play is a carefully staged, dramatic, funny and moving production.

The Second Mrs Tanqueray is playing at the Rose Theatre, 24-26 High Street, Kingston, until October 27. Call the box office on 08444 821 556 or visit

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