The Dressing Book - An original outdoor play

Egerton Park, 45 Egerton Road, Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, TN39 3HN
Close window

Call direct on:


Add The Dressing Book - An original outdoor play to your Itinerary

The Dressing Book - An original outdoor play


The Rude Mechanical Theatre Company, or just The Rudes, create brand-new plays and tour outdoors to mainly small rural communities and a few towns right across the South of England from Kent to Somerset and will be visiting Bexhill again this summer with another original play, The Dressing Book. It is variously both an hilarious comedy, but equally provocative, poetic and tender. Set in 1795 in Tunbridge Wells, it plays games with time and social status and has a twist in the tail. It follows the 'social round' of Maybelline Erstwhile who records which dresses she wears for each event in her 'dressing book' - and the men she encounters while wearing them. The play opens a window on the way clothes were – and still are - a means by which men could control the separated public and private worlds of women. Has anything changed? Through a process of 'magic realism' the action changes to the 1960's and Maybelline's clothes, which had been her prison, now set her free.

Put your feet up, have a cup of coffee and a snack, because here's a first taste of…

The story

Mrs Erstwhile, Maybelline to her intimates, has a dilemma. The wife, now widow, of Sir John Rump MP, known to virtually no intimates (because she had none) as Augusta, was bounding up the path in her durable bombazine widow's weeds (with a hint of sunlight), quite visibly without a calling card!

There had been a tiff. Indeed a spat concerning a gown, examples of which both women had worn to The Pantiles Annual Ball in Tunbridge Wells - a damask robe à la française with sleeves finished in a ruffle of dimity and fine English net lace. Allegedly bespoke by Greenfield and Tuck, no less, of Oxford Street! Bespoke indeed!

Mrs Rump was furious! - Who wouldn't be? - And would have made the point that very night but for the fact that Sir John had been shot through the heart in a duel with his mistress's husband. Quite snookered in fact! Distracted by the obsequies her rage had been bottled up, but now 'dear Jack' was safely in the ground she was about to explode like Vesuvius itself at Maybelline's very door.

But Maybelline would not give up her claim to the gown lightly because that night she had met Edward, Mr Ashby, that is, a doctor from Sevenoaks, and the trace of his presence still lingered on its sleeve where he had daringly touched her arm. She had carefully recorded the facts in her dressing book, where she chronicled in her tiny elegant hand all her encounters - and the gowns that she had worn. The impossible possibilities. The pathways always not quite crossing. Thwarted by social obligation, or time, or geography.

"In turn hilarious, touching & provocative, the play shows how social expectation, especially relating to how women should look, both in their body shape and their clothes, is still as relevant today as it was in 1795."

TICKETS – are available now on our website –

Book Tickets


Map & Directions

Opening Times

Sorry, this event has passed


What's Nearby

  1. It’s curious, it’s quirky, it’s packed to the rafters with diverse objects with a…

    0.03 miles away
  2. Enjoy a game of tennis on one of the outdoor courts, try your hand at bowls or take a…

    0.08 miles away
  1. Bexhill's traditional seafront is punctuated by some fantastic pieces of modernist…

    0.27 miles away
  2. An exhibition space based at Bexhill's cultural hub, Beeching Road Studios, Flatlands is…

    0.36 miles away
  3. A ceramic studio based at Beeching Road Studios, Bexhill-on-Sea.

    0.38 miles away
  4. Bookbindery & print studio servicing the arts and local community at Beeching Road…

    0.38 miles away
  5. This picturesque area of Bexhill is home to some fine examples of Georgian architecture…

    0.79 miles away
  6. The Combe Valley Countryside Park covers approximately 2.3 square miles (about…

    2.07 miles away
  7. Adrenaline-rushing action at Hastings' laser combat zone.

    4.6 miles away
  8. Home to the best live entertainment in East Sussex.

    4.76 miles away
  9. Promenade 272 metres out to sea on rebuilt and revamped pier, which won a RIBA award for…

    4.79 miles away
  10. Indoor and outdoor fun at Clambers Play Centre.

    4.88 miles away
  11. The Source Park is the World’s largest underground skate park; a hidden gem under…

    4.91 miles away
  12. A VR experience like no other, Soar Tour takes you on a flying ride high above the 1066…

    5.12 miles away
  13. Pevensey, a village that boasts an impressive historical background also has a lot to…

    5.3 miles away
Previous Next
1066 Country of Origin Original by nature
Back to Top

My Planner

Nothing added yet! Explore the site to create your personal itinerary.

Don't Miss

  • Accommodation

  • Things to See & Do

  • What's On

  • Food & Drink

Accommodation Search

Check Availability
Arrival Date:
Add Room

Things to Do Search


What's On Search


Food & Drink Search


Shopping Search