It's the 1660s, and Edward 'Ned' Kynaston is England's most celebrated leading lady. Women are forbidden to appear on stage and Ned profits, using his beauty and skill to make the great female roles his own.
But King Charles II is tired of seeing the same old performers in the same old tragedies. He decides to liven the stage by allowing real women to tread the boards. He also rules that men may no longer play women's parts.
This is good news for Maria, Kynaston's young dresser who has been secretly performing at a tavern in costumes borrowed from her employer. It is very bad news for Ned who, virtually overnight, plummets from his exalted position to become a nobody. Cast out of the spotlight, Ned seems headed for obscurity until Maria, now a rising star, takes it upon herself to make a man of him again.
What the critics are saying:
"...an enjoyably bawdy romantic comedy that's more theatrical than an Elton John party, and only slightly less camp."- Adrian Hennigan, BBCi Film"It's deeply perceptive about what good actors do, without resorting to theatrical platitudes."- Stephanie Zacharek, Salon.com"It has a poignancy that Shakespeare lacks, because it is about a real dilemma and two people who are trying to solve it; must Ned and Maria betray their real natures in order to find love, or accept them?"- Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
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