DIAMOND - A new musical drama
Dave Lynn stars as East End legend Diamond Lil.
Get ready for a show that’s going to blow you away, as ‘Diamond’ is due to open at the Dome, Brighton Studio in June. Telling the true story of Harry Young who, at the tender age of 14, decided to dress solely as a woman – this new musical charts the birth of Diamond Lil. Wandering the streets of Bethnal Green in heels, frock and makeup, she became one of the East End’s most memorable and much loved characters – the heartbeat of the community!
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The show is set during World War II around the East End and tells us the story of Lil, her tempestuous relationship with partner Maisie, and the colourful characters in her community that gravitate to The Royal Oak Pub on Columbia Road.
Locally renowned drag artist Dave Lynn stars as Lil, alongside an impressive ensemble cast including Stephen Richards (Lola Lasagne) who, since his knock out performance in ‘Boys In the Band’, throws off his drag attire for the second time in his career, to perform ‘straight’ as Lil’s brother Bill – something to be seen!
Written by esteemed Linda Wilkinson, ‘Diamond’ is inspired by her book ‘Watercress But No Sandwiches – 300 years of the Columbia Road Area’, telling the moving stories of the old Eastenders, whose memories through their families go back almost 200 years. The book won the prestigious Raymond Williams prize and has already been a BBC Radio 4 play; before first being performed as a play with music at the Kings Head Theatre, Islington, garnering four stars from Nicholas de Jongh.
Linda grew up in Bethnall Green and as a child knew Lil:
“As a child growing up, Lil was this glamorous figure who raised spirits and kept everyone smiling, she enlivened our lives and we thought he really was a she. I have pieced together her life from interviews with people who knew her, from her partner Maisie’s living relatives and my own recollections. The most astounding thing is the way that she was totally accepted within her community and was a central pillar in the dark days of war. This is a real slice of life about Columbia Road during WWII - to this day people still talk about Diamond Lil’”
With music by the reputed musical scholar Robert Orledge, this version of the story is a delicious, bawdy and at times tragic romp - full of fun, poignancy and drama with toe tapping tunes, show stopping numbers (including Lil’s signature tune: “I want a boy”) and dancing to boot!
‘Diamond’ runs from 3 to 9 June at the Dome Brighton Studio.
Book now on 01273 709709 or online at Brighton Dome