Hedonism, royal folly and the underworld

Jonathan Brown as the Prince Regent. Picture by Peter Williams
Jonathan Brown as the Prince Regent. Picture by Peter Williams

This December sees the return of a surreal play about Brighton’s hidden past when This River of Blood plays the Dukebox Theatre, Brighton on December 6.

Writer and performer Jonathan Brown explains: “You may have heard of The Wellesbourne, the forgotten stream that flowed under the centre of the town.

“When the Pavilion was being built, the stream was already a thorn in the side of developers who wanted to build on prime land in the town’s centre.

“So naturally, when The Prince Regent commanded the diversion of the Wellesbourne, it was a very popular move. Unless of course, you consider the land and its waters to be sacrosanct.

“This River of Blood is the award-winning darkly comic true story of how The Prince Regent, (later George IV) patronised the town, partook of the town’s women, fathered unwanted children, and engaged in a battle to wrestle the land, on which he wished to build his Pavilion, from the forces of nature.”

Jonathan added: “This River of Blood is set in early 1800s Brighton where The Prince Regent has taken a fancy to the town, to Dr Russell’s sea-water cure, to Maria Fitzherbert, and against an old underground stream that threatens his scheme to build his Pavillion. Unbeknownst to him, the ancient river has its allies in the underworld, and George finds himself caught up in adventures, that his father considers unholy, in a bid to find out what wisdom his own unbidden children have to tell him.

“I have a fascination for how the hidden land and water features around Brighton echo the underground intrigues that have often played along with the town’s development, and the power brokers that feature in those tales. As a republican at heart, it’s brilliant fun, captivating and paradoxical for me to play such a seeming prime example of a Royal dunce, and yet at the same time, play him with complete sympathy for his condition.”

More information at www.somethingunderground.co.uk or 01273 640652 or 0787 9832857. Starts 8pm.