1998: Poor Mrs Pepys

By Vanessa Brooks
Directed by Jonathan Holloway
Designed by Neil Irish
Music by Paul Clark


Vanessa Brooks’ hilarious new play plunged us into a vivid, warts-and-all portrait of seventeenth century London.

Following a two year separation, Elizabeth Pepys – virtuous, sensitive and shrewd – returns to married life alongside her famous diarist husband, Samuel. Middle-aged at twenty-five, harboring a dangerous secret and longing for the child Samuel refused to give her, Elizabeth is surrounded by political intrigue, philandering, disease and vice. This period helter-skelter raced us through fourteen years in the Pepys household. Embracing both the Plague and the Great Fire, a truly side-splitting comedy leading to an unexpected and moving climax.

Based on material from Samuel Pepys’ diary, this witty and shocking new play took Red Shift back to the fertile territory which marked some of it’s most popular work. Le Misanthrope, The Life and Times of Fanny Hill and George Dandin were all new versions of classic texts, commissioned from hugely talented writers and given a surprising, controversial and above all entertaining spin.