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The Ladies of Llangollen have their stories told at last

It's a story that has fascinated for 250 years. But it has never really been told - until now.

Victoria John and Heather Agyepong photo: ffotoNant
Victoria John and Heather Agyepong photo: ffotoNant

The Ladies of Llangollen are being brought to life at Theatr Clwyd, Mold,in a phenomenal new production.

Written by young author, Katie Elin-Salt, the play tells the true story of Lady Eleanor Butler and Sarah Ponsonby who fell in love in their native Ireland and had to flee the country to live together without fear.

They bought a house in Llangollen - Plas Newydd - where their love for each other was allowed to flourish, like their garden.

Katie's script, directed by Eleri B Jones, is completely gripping, the story told through the eyes and heart of orphan Sarah - acted brilliantly by Heather Agyepong.

Lady Eleanor Ponsonby struggling more than Sarah to show her love in public is portrayed by Victoria John.

The pair, so different in their attitudes yet so obviously in love have to deal with the prejudices of the 18th century, prejudices that sadly still exist albeit not so broadly today.

Sean Carlsen play Sir William who along with his wife Lady Betty take in the orphaned Sarah.

Emma Pallant plays not only Lady Betty but also and wonderfully, Mary, who travels to Llangollen with the lovers as their maid. Mary bring wonderful humour to the second act and also highlights the class divides of the time.

Celebrated Virgins has a very simply set - it's very clever design turning it from a grand house, to a school, a bedroom and a beautiful garden in seconds.

If you have seen Gentleman Jack don't imagine it is anything like the TV series. However hard I try I can not warm to Anne Lister or rather the way she is portrayed.

Celebrated Virgins on the other hand had me rooting for the Ladies of Llangollen from the outset - and in tears at the end.

The play is being staged at Theatr Clwyd until June 4 and thoroughly deserves to be seen not only in Mold but nationwide.

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