The Flea at Yard Theatre in Hackney Wick explores the scandal surrounding Prince Albert’s supposed patronage of a male brothel in Cleveland Street.
The Flea is the latest from the acclaimed playwright James Fritz. It explores the Cleveland Street scandal.
In 1889, a homosexual male brothel and house of assignation was found by the police on Cleveland Street, near Tottenham Court Road. Victorian Britain was deeply conservative; the brothel’s clients faced potential prosecution and social exclusion. It was rumoured that Prince Albert Victor, grandson to Queen Victoria and second-in-line to the throne, frequented this brothel.
The Cleveland Street Scandal unfolds through the experiences of Charlie Swinscow, a poor young man considered suspicious for having an unusual amount of money on him. Swinscow, however, is not a thief – he is simply ‘the telegraph boy that knelt before the crown’.
The play features Norah Lopez Holden, who was previously in Hamlet at the Young Vic, Equus at Theatre Royal Stratford East and The Winter’s Tale/Eyam at Shakespeare’s Globe to name a few. Further cast announcements are to follow.
Playwright James Fritz is the recipient of the Critics Circle Theatre Award for Most Promising Playwright as well as numerous other awards. He was nominated for an Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre, a BBC Radio Award for Best Single Drama, and was named runner-up in the 2013 Verity Bargate Award. His previous works Ross & Rachel and Parliament Square were acclaimed by critics and audiences alike.
The Flea is directed by Jay Miller, founder and Artistic Director of The Yard.
If you enjoyed this you may also like Hackney Wick night time guide: best raves, best bars and best restaurants.
Please support local journalism.
As a not-for-profit media organisation using constructive journalism to strengthen communities, we have not put our digital content behind a paywall or subscription fee as we think the benefits of an independent, local publication should be available to everyone living in our area.
We are powered by members. Hundreds of members have already joined. Become a member to donate as little as £3 per month to support constructive journalism and the local community.