I am currently working on a production by Joan Greening called The Amours Of Lillie Langtry for the Edinburgh Fringe this summer. I am playing Lillie’s daughter – Jeanne-Marie, I have found Lillie’s history fascinating; she was very much ahead of her time! She’s well worth looking up, very forward thinking and didn’t care much for ‘society’ and its idea of ‘respectability’ at the time.
The show is set on the night before Jeanne-Marie’s wedding, she has become the target of vicious rumours and has come to confront her mother (Lillie) for the truth. All she wants is a straight answer from Lillie to save her from a lifetime of society’s scorn.
Recently we went to visit Langtry Manor in Bournemouth, it’s a hotel now, but originally it was the house built for Lillie by Edward VII during their time as lovers. The hotel was full of memorabilia and original features – it was really nice to see where she had stayed and walk the same way she did all those years ago. If you’re ever intrigued to find out about Lillie (other than coming to see the show of course) then I highly recommend a trip to this hotel. The manager there was so passionate about it’s history and knew and endless number of facts about Lillie herself and her life! Here’s a link to the hotel’s website, in case you’re interested: http://www.langtrymanor.co.uk.
Personally, I found it interesting to see a photo outside one of the rooms in the hotel, which showed Mary Malcom (Jeanne Marie’s daughter) herself at the hotel, she was a household name back in the 40s and 50s. “Mary Malcolm,[…] together with Sylvia Peters and McDonald Hobley made up the trinity of announcers who nursed us into becoming a nation of television watchers.” read more about her and her role in the BBC here. Mary passed away in October 2010.