Seiriol Davies

Theatre, Film and TV Lily Williams, +44 (0)20 7393 4452 Email Lily Williams

How To Win Against History

Wales Theatre Award: Best Touring Production (English); The Stage Edinburgh Award; The Broadway Baby Bobby Award
Producer Aine Flanagan Productions Director Alex Swift Starring
  • Matthew Blake
  • Matthew Blake
    Oval House Theatre

     Oval House Theatre / Edinburgh Fringe 2016 at Assembly George Square Theatre (Venue 8)



    Comparisons to the Broadway smash Hamilton are inevitable given the subversive, larky, skittishly witty approach to history shown here in Seiriol Davies’ retelling of the neglected tale of bad-boy aristocrat Henry Cyril Paget, the Fifth Marquis of Anglesey (1875 – 1905) 

    Dominic Cavendish
    The Telegraph


    How to Win Against History may well be the first piece of genderpunk anti-imperialist musical theatre. This fiendishly creative, ferocious three-hander about the life of Henry Cyril Paget, 5th Marquess of Anglesey—a British peer in the late 19th century—demolishes so many conventions of contemporary performance and the straight-washing of British politics that it is impossible to match the terrain it covers in this review.

    Andrew Latimer
    FEST Magazine


    Davies’s Paget is utterly winning, a sweet, wide-eyed loon who enjoys every second of his absurd life. He’s ably supported by fractionally straighter man Matthew Blake, who plays a series of other figures from Paget’s life (including his unfortunate wife) and Dylan Townle, who offers a spot of piano accompaniment to the harmony-heavy numbers...It’s the sort of show that makes the world better by sheer dint of how fun it is.

    Andrzej Lukowski
    Time Out


    Seen directly before Two Man Show, How To Win Against History (H2WAH) approaches almost the exact same questions of gender, identity, and patriarchy from the precise opposite direction; with just as much wit, verve, gusto and subversive intent, but with a dogged determination to WIN, rather than leaving questions like open wounds.

    Andrew Haydon
    Postcards from the Gods


    There is not one wasted line or gesture and it all flows like a vintage red wine. It's frequently cartoonish and absurd, of course, but always pointed and intellectually rich. It's the spaces between the bravado that make the skin prickle. Hilarious, beautiful and truly moving.

    Lorna Irvine
    The List


    There's a radical populism to cabaret, and this is a knobbly knees-up. It smuggles politics and queerness in with a smile, and Davies pushes ahead by revisiting the past, updating Victorian variety with a glint of irony. It makes for something utterly accessible, apparently familiar and radically progressive. Paget himself would be proud.

    Matt Trueman
    What's On Stage


    The gloriousness of one man’s narcissism makes for a thoroughly entertaining show that somehow still manages to be uplifting. You’ll find yourself totally enthralled and unable to resist Henry Cyril Paget with his “incredible poverty cheekbones.” It’s an absolute riot.

    Jane Bristow
    Fringe Guru


    On every front, this show is a winner. The writing is outstanding, the music is catchy, and the performances of each of the actors (including the pianist actor/musician) are faultless. In short, there is nothing not to like in this production.

    Joshua Clarke
    Broadway Baby


    Seiriol Davies's How to Win Against History is a chamber musical with a mad momentum all its own. It's a gleeful skip through the life of the crossdressing Victorian aritsocrat Henry Cyril Paget, the Fifth Marquess of Anglesey, who liked to wear slippers studded with Burma rubies. It is impossible not to be caught up with the show's anarchic, spiralling wit.

    The Sunday Times

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