Marie, Marie, Hold on Tight! - T. S. Eliot, Marie Lloyd and the making of Modernism

11th April to 12th April . 7:30pm .
£12.50 - £25.50 full price, £10 - £22 concessions
Marie, Marie, Hold on Tight!
T. S. Eliot, Marie Lloyd and the making of Modernism

11th April - 12th April. 7.30pm.
£12.50-£25.50 full price, £10-22 concessions

In October 1922 two notable events took place. On the 12th, at Hampstead Cemetery, the funeral of Marie Lloyd, star and emblem of British music hall, was attended by more mourners than any English funeral since the Duke of Wellington’s. ‘Her death is a significant moment in English history,’ wrote T. S. Eliot. ‘She was the greatest music-hall artist of her time.’ Less than a week later, Eliot’s The Waste Land was first published in the inaugural issue of The Criterion magazine. One era seems to pass, another seems to be born.

But beyond this coincidence, there is a deep and surprising relationship between Marie Lloyd, T. S. Eliot and Eliot’s poetry. Eliot loved popular song and music-hall in particular – his brand of modernism aspired to the collaborative quality of the music-hall; his poetic imagination and ear were haunted by its rhythms and the slipperiness of its disguised meanings and double entendres. ‘People get clever and say it means all sorts of things,’ Marie Lloyd would say, of her innuendos. ‘I can’t help that, can I?’

 Using many of Marie Lloyd’s greatest songs, The Waste Land and other more surprising Eliot poems, Marie, Marie, Hold on Tight! is a sort-of-musical that marks the centenary of Marie Lloyd’s death and The Waste Land’s birth and which could really only be staged at Wilton’s. It tells the very funny and moving story of the unlikely relationship between the work of two unhappy people and great artists. 

Marie Lloyd - Jenna Russell
T. S. Eliot -Luke Thallon
Sweeney -Tom Hanson
Musical director - Nigel Lilley 
Script - James Lever and Susie Boyt

Jenna Russell
Jenna Russell (Marie Lloyd) is renowned for her Sondheim work, having appeared in Into the WoodsMerrily We Roll Along (Olivier Award nomination) and having won an Olivier Award for Sunday in the Park with George, for which she was also nominated for a Tony Award. She starred with Sheila Hancock in Grey Gardens at the Southwark Playhouse, played the part of Michelle Fowler in Eastenders & most recently was acclaimed as Edith Piaf in Piaf.

Luke Thallon The part of a young T.S. Eliot will be played by Luke Thallon. Luke is one of the most exciting young actors on the London stage. He was nominated for the Evening Standard's Emerging Talent Award for Albion (Almeida), and gave a standout performance in Patrick Marber's Pinter at the Pinter triple-bill and Tom Stoppard's Leopoldstadt (West End), for which he received the Clarence Derwent Award, and most recently After Life (National) and Camp Siegfried (Old Vic), opposite Patsy Ferran.

Tom Hanson Tom Hanson plays Eliot’s character Sweeney. Tom’s TV credits include Sky’s Brassic, Stephen Merchant’s The Offenders, Park Chan-Wook’s The Little Drummer Girl and The Tunnel. In theatre, notable appearances include Kenneth Branagh’s Romeo and Juliet – he also appeared in Branagh’s film adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express – Laura Wade’s Posh and Shaw’s Misalliance.

Dead Poets Live
Dead Poets Live have gained a reputation for presenting poetry in vivid and meaningful ways, using context, analysis, dramatization, interaction and some of the country’s finest actors – Glenda Jackson, Tom Hiddleston, Juliet Stevenson, Rory Kinnear, Denise Gough, Toby Jones – to help communicate great poems. All proceeds from their shows go to the charity Safe Passage UK.

Running time: 90 minutes plus a 20 minute interval

Photo of T. S. Eliot provided by T. S. Eliot Estate

Wilton's has been granted the use of Society Of London Theatre & UK Theatre's 'See It Safely' mark. The mark certifies that we are complying with the latest Government and industry COVID-19 guidelines, to ensure the safety of our staff and audiences. Find out more here about what Wilton's has put in place ready for your visit, and what you will need to know beforehand.

The production you are buying a ticket for is being sold at full capacity, in line with the current government guidelines. However, there is a chance that by the time the production happens we may be requested by law to return to a socially distanced capacity. 

If we have to reduce the capacity then we will confirm bookings based on the date on which they were booked with the earliest bookings being given priority. If there is not space for everyone then later bookings will be notified and we will attempt to exchange your ticket/s for another performance of the same production. If this is not possible you will be eligible for a full refund.

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