June 28, 2024

Show lifts lid on famous poet’s scandalous side

The dark side of one of Britain’s brightest poets is exposed in a fun show heading to Sheringham Little Theatre.

Lord Byron is famous for his epic romantic works which made him an overnight sensation in Regency London.

But he is also infamous for his scandalous private life, with multiple affairs, illegitimate children and huge debts.

Now, 200 years after the poet’s death in exile in Greece, actor Paul Huntley-Thomas delves into Byron’s colourful career and character in a one-man show set in the venue’s Hub on July 27.

Paul, a regular during the Sheringham summer drama season including two plays this year, said: “The show sees Byron reluctantly on tour performing his ‘greatest hits’ in an ‘evening with’ style event because he needs the money.

“There are snippets of his work, but he’s a grumpy middle aged man, who gets drunker as the night goes on, and interacts – including flirting – with the audience who learn about his complex life and character.

“I have always loved Byron, partly for his work, partly for his Bohemian nature. But I suspect he is one of those people who are fascinating characters in small doses but who then become annoying,” he smiled.

Bryon was born in 1788 in London, and inherited the title of 6th Baron Byron when just 10. Amid a traumatic family upbringing he was educated at Cambridge, where he kept a pet bear in protest at his college’s ‘no dogs’ rule.

He wrote more than 800 poems, but his breakthrough came through in 1812 with Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, based on his own travels and romances while touring Europe. It made him an overnight sensation which was tagged Byromania at the time.

The combination of scandal, a failed marriage and mounting debts saw him flee to Europe to live in Italy and Greece where he died from fever in 1824.

A bid to have him buried in Westminster Abbey was rejected because of the “questionable morality” of a man his lover Lady Caroline Lamb called “mad, bad and dangerous to know.”

Byron is on Saturday July 27 at 7.30pm. The show contains bad language and sexual references, so is recommended for 16+ audiences only. For more information and tickets (£15) click here or call the box office on 01263 822347.

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