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Ovalhouse and Aine Flangan Productions present

How to Win Against History by Seiriol Davies

The 5th Marquis of Anglesey was one of the Earth's wealthiest men, until he lost it all by being too damn fabulous. A hilarious, ripped-up musical about this gorgeous tragedy.

  • Wheelchair Access
  • Thu 21 Jul – Sat 23 Jul, 7:30pm

Running time: 1 hour 10 mins

Venue: Downstairs

A fierce and fabulous costume drama musical about Henry Cyril Paget, the 5th Marquis of Anglesey. Born in 1875, poised to inherit the Empire, he instead burned brightly, briefly and transvestitely; blowing his family’s godlike wealth putting on sparkling, diamond-studded plays… with him in them… to which nobody came. When he died, his family burnt every record of his life they could find, and carried on as though he’d never been.

A hilarious, ripped-up new extravaganza by Seiriol Davies about being too weird for the world, but desperately not wanting it to forget you.

Directed by Alex Swift and performed by Seiriol Davies (both Caroline Horton's Mess), Matthew Blake (Punchdrunk) and Dylan Townley.


 "utterly hilarious, ridiculous and relentlessly energetic.." BroadWay Baby ★★★★


  • Thu 21 Jul, 7:30pm
  • Fri 22 Jul, 7:30pm
  • Sat 23 Jul, 7:30pm

Writer/Performer: Seiriol Davies
Seiriol Davies trained at the London International School of Performing Arts and has made shows with companies including You Need Me, Punchdrunk, Gideon Reeling, Kristin Fredricksson, Giant Bird and Caroline Horton, with whom he created Mess, which won The Stage Award for Acting Excellence 2012 (Best Ensemble). He is half of the cult music hall comedy act Underbling & Vow (“London's premier retro-blitz granny rockers” - Time Out) and has toured internationally with the Weimar glam rock opera band Temper Temper, for which he writes the songs with artist Wendy Bevan. His first full-length play, Moon River, a surreal comedy set in an old people's home, was produced at Pleasance in 2012. He is represented as a writer by Curtis Brown.

Performer: Matthew Blake
Mainstream theatre credits include: Larry Fortune and Mr Tuttle in THE DROWNED MAN: A HOLLYWOOD FABLE directed by Felix Barrett and Maxine Doyle (Punchdrunk/National Theatre, Matt in BANK ON IT directed by Sue Buckmaster (Theatre Rites/Barbican) Mr Winter in THE HOUSE WHERE WINTER LIVES directed by Peter Higgin (Punchdrunk), Momentologist in THE GOOD NEIGHBOUR directed by Sarah Golding (Battersea Arts Centre), Captain Solomon in THE CRASH OF THE ELYSIUM directed by Felix Barrett (BBC/Punchdrunk), M Gould in STARTY directed by Kate Hargreaves (Soho Theatre), Bertram St. Handwich in SALON DU THÉ directed by Kate Hargreaves (Newbury Corn Exchange), Maurice Chevalier in MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH directed by Felix Barrett and Maxine Doyle (Punchdrunk). Matthew has also written and performed in many Punchdrunk enrichment shows. He is also in a comedy Music Hall band called THE DEAD VICTORIANS in which he sings and plays percussion. He has also appeared in some very mainstream adverts.

Performer: Dylan Townley
Dylan is a composer, music director, improviser and performer. Credits include sell-out tours of Australia, Europe and the Edinburgh Fringe as musical maestro of long-form improvisation troupe Racing Minds; co-creator and multi-instrumentalist of acclaimed duo The Peablossom Cabaret; MD and cast member of Thumbelina UK tour with Dancing Brick; composer and MD of Jack Drum's Entertainment with the Young Actors Company (Cambridge Junction, Bloomsbury Theatre London, Simpkins Lee Oxford); and cast member of Comedy of Errors which toured to Japan and around the UK. He trained and worked as a pianist throughout his teens, and then as an actor-improviser in the Oxford Imps, directing their USA Tour and a weekly residency in Oxford, UK. He is based in Oxford.

Director: Alex Swift
Alex is a theatre maker, director and performer with experience of working with both devised and text-based theatre. His direction of Caroline Horton’s Mess at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh won the 2012 Best Enemble Stage Award and was described as“perilously close to genius”by TimeOut. He is particularly interested in play, the politics of performance and representation, the nature of participation and the power of the audience in the theatrical encounter. He has made comedy with Richard Crawley, and worked with directors and companies including Chris Goode, John Wright, Daedalus Theatre and Slung Low. He trained at Ecole Philippe gaulier and Cambridge university. He is currently collaborating with the writers Kieran Hurley on a new play about violence, and developing his solo show Travesty, which is under commission from Theatre in the Mill, Bradford.

Dramaturg: Eve Leigh
Eve Leigh is a playwright and theatre-maker. Her first full-length play,Stone Face, was recently nominated for a King’s Cross Award. She is the creative director of All Change, which brings innovative performance to new audiences across Britain and internationally. The All Change Festival will be at the Lyric Hammersmith this October. She is the writer on Oscar Mike’s A Day In The Life Of Someone Else at the ARC Stockton and Shoreditch Town Hall; and Illusionists at Shoreditch Town Hall (shortlisted for the Title Pending Award at Northern Stage). Her plays have been performed at the Birmingham REP, Trafalgar Studios, the Arcola Theatre, Theatre503, the Pleasance Theatre Edinburgh, RADA, and as part of the Festival of the Northeast. Additional devising credits include Numbers with Vladimir Shcherban of Belarus Free Theatre. She is an Associate Artist of Firehouse Creative Productions. She trained at the Royal Court’s Young Writers’ Programme and Studio Group; at the National Theatre’s Directors Course; and at Cambridge University.

Additional information

Developed in association with Ovalhouse and Arts Council England.

For more information contact Aine Flanagan, Producer


Photo by Rah Petherbridge.

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