Her Naked Skin National Theatre, London

1st August 2008 at 01:00

It's a racy title for a play about the Suffragette movement, something that's normally portrayed as anything but saucy. But with Her Naked Skin, which runs at the National this month, Rebecca Lenkiewicz has succeeded in putting the fizz back into women's lib.

The story focuses on Lady Celia Cain, a women's rights campaigner imprisoned, as many were, for agitating for a vote. Inside, she meets a young seamstress, Eve Douglas, and they embark on a relationship. What follows is an exploration of love, sex and self-destruction.

Lenkiewicz's story is almost as interesting as the play itself. She is a former stripper whose first play drew on her career highlights to great effect (Soho: a tale of table dancers premiered at the Edinburgh Festival in 2000). She is now the first living woman to have an original work performed at the National Theatre.

The Stage called her 2005 play Shoreditch Madonna, about artists in London's East End, "confident, engrossing and empathetic" with an "appealing mix of wry humour and tingling passion". So fingers crossed for more of the same.

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