Wednesday, July 6

Sidney Fox’s Crime – Above The Stag Theatre

Sidney Fox led an eventful, unconventional and disreputable life.  The illegitimate fourth son of promiscuous Rosaline Fox, he took up pretty crime from an early age. Stealing and forgery were second nature to him, and he spent six spells in prison. His good looks made him attractive to both sexes and he had affairs with many in the highest echelons of 1920’s society.  In the years before his mother’s death, the two of them lived in a succession of hotels, rarely paying the bills before moving on. On 23rd October 1929 in the Metropole hotel in Margate his mother died in mysterious circumstances. Sidney was arrested and tried for her murder. 

Glenn Chandler has written a fast moving, fascinating account of Fox’s life and the events leading up to his mother’s death and his trial. Told through the efforts of his defence barrister, James D. Cassels, to put together a credible case with flashback scenes to key events in the lives of Fox and his mother.

The small simple set, used for all scenes, comprised a table, a single bed and a small round table and chair.  The scenes ran together seamlessly with the three members of the cast on stage almost all the time.  Projection of period images set the location of the various scenes and excellent choice of period costumes and music helped create the atmosphere of the Roaring Twenties.

Photo: PBG Studios

Mark Curry gave a very strong performance as the defence barrister. Sebastian Calver was highly believable as the attractive, dissolute Fox, but struggled at times with demands of the emotional rollercoaster that was Sidney Fox’s life.  He was well supported by Amanda Bailey as his mother, although she could have been made up to make the age difference between them more believable.

Nobody really knows what happened in room 66 of the Metropole Hotel that fateful night.  Was Sidney Fox, who had never been violent in his life and had who had shown great devotion to his mother, actually guilty of killing her? Was the fact that he had taken out an insurance policy on her life his motive, or was the pervasive distaste for homosexuality at the time more of a factor in the trial outcome than the evidence?  The play postulates a credible version of what might have actually happened, but I would encourage you to come to The Above The Stag Theatre in in Vauxhall and decide for yourself before the show closes on the 7th May.

Reviewer: Paul Ackroyd

Reviewed: 21st April 2022

North West End UK Rating: ★★★