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Dukes Musical wins a place in history for cross-dressing Marquis


Henry Paget, 5th Marquess of Anglesey in about 1900, by Welsh photographer John Wickens
Henry Paget, 5th Marquess of Anglesey in about 1900, by Welsh photographer John Wickens
Chris Satori

Coming to the Dukes on Thursday 19 October is Seiriol Davies’ sell-out show from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2016 - 'How To Win Against History'. It was a huge hit with audiences and critics alike; now the musical extravaganza is touring the UK before a run at the Young Vic.

Seiriol stars as Henry Cyril Paget, the flamboyant cross-dressing 5th Marquis of Anglesey who gained notoriety for squandering his family’s godlike wealth on diamond-studded plays, star vehicles for himself which nobody came to. 

The ‘Dancing Marquis’ inherited his title in 1898 at the age of twenty-one, and was declared bankrupt just six years later, after burning through his vast fortune, spending it on bejewelled dresses, poodles dyed lilac, a fleet of cars modified to give out rose-scented exhaust fumes, and touring Germany with an enigmatic show called The Famous Electric Butterfly Dance. When he died a year later, his family burnt every record of his life they could find, and carried on as though he’d never been. How to Win Against History is an outrageous musical about being just too weird for the world, but desperately not wanting it to forget you.

Seiriol Davies said, “I grew up on Anglesey, the island on top of Wales, and as a kid I'd visit Plas Newydd the ancestral seat of the Marquises of Anglesey. There were busts and paintings honouring the 1st Marquis, the 2nd, the 3rd, the 4th. Then of the 5th… there was a laminated printout of a handful of pictures in the back porch above the doormat.

"Because this guy was ‘different’. Google ‘Henry Cyril Paget’ and you’ll see what I mean; he looks like Freddie Mercury having gone for a run through Elizabeth Duke's wearing a sellotape suit. But this isn’t some ‘poor little rich boy’ story, it’s about wanting to be part of the world, and the feeling not necessarily being mutual. And what the dickensy heck would it mean to have your whole life judged invalid?

"I'm stunned by how people have responded to the show, and thrilled that this means we get a chance to take this story to more people, with a slight upgrade on the sparkles budget. Henry rides again! ”

★★★★★ “This musical about a cross-dressing Marquess is a work of genius” The Daily Telegraph

'How to Win Against History' will be performed at the Dukes on Thursday 19 October at 8pm. Age guidance is 12+

Tickets cost £13 (£11 concs) and can be obtained from the Dukes Box Office: 01524 598500 or online at: