“OK, so though I am not English …” began the e-mail. We shrunk back, aghast. You know this is BRITS in Toronto, right? But we like honesty so kept reading.
“I am married to a Yorkshireman if that helps.” Yes, yes it does. Carry on. “And I am mainlining one of your British heroines for a show in the Toronto Fringe.”
Why didn’t you say that, Penny Ashton?! The floor is yours.
“I am bringing my solo Jane Austen Musical, Promise and Promiscuity to Toronto for the first time to the Randolph Theatre all the way from New Zealand. I have performed this show over 200 times in over 40 cities in six countries. So suffice to say, it’s a bit polished 🙂
“In it I play nine different Austen-style characters and tell a story that’s in the style of Austen — but is a brand new surprise for the audience. It also features quite a lot of pop culture references, innuendo, feminism and silliness thrown in for good … measure which not only comments on how far women have come but also on how far they had to go, all with a smile firmly in place.”
Penny says that there are some interesting angles:
“1. I am related to Jane Austen’s rumoured flirtation, Thomas Langlois Lefroy. He was played by James McAvoy in the movie Becoming Jane and he is my 5th Great Uncle. Amazingly! I only found this out after having done various Jane Austen Shows for five years in 2013. 2017 is also the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death. He is even touted as a possible inspiration for Mr Darcy, so I like to say he’s my uncle.
“2. I have performed this show all over Canada, at the Jane Austen Festival in Bath, on a huge tour of New Zeland, across Australia and ran at 80% in the last Edinburgh Festival where I played at the prestigious Assembly Festival.
“3. The cult of Jane is huge the world over. The fans being called the Janeites with societies everywhere. Here in Wellington the local society came to my show and invited me out for dinner, I have had lunch with the Jane Austen society of Adelaide and given a talk, I have even lectured at the University of British Columbia. I love it!”
*The media release shouts that, “Charmingly accomplished Kiwi Penny Ashton mashes up
Beethoven, bonnets and big balls … with alacrity! Follow the fortunes of Miss Elspeth Slowtree as she battles literary snobbery, cousin Horatio’s digestions and her mother’s nerves, armed with a blushing countenance, excellent ukulele skills and being quite bright — you know … for a girl. One Kiwi tackles all of Austen’s characters with song, dance and appalling cross-stitching.”
So, if all that sounds your cup of tea, catch Penny in Promise and Promiscuity from July 1-9, 2016 via Fringe Toronto.