Coral Browne was a woman like no other.
A thrilling cocktail of beauty, drama, and sexual adventure, Coral’s life is an absolutely fascinating tale of an Australian star who cemented herself history. Now, her story is coming to life with no other than Amanda Muggleton in the acclaimed one-woman show, Coral Browne: This F**king Lady
Amanda is no stranger to the stage either, with past credits including lead roles in Shirley Valentine, Educating Rita, Eureka!, Master Class, Blood Brothers, and Hairspray. She has also graced the screen, best known for her role as Chrissie Latham in Prisoner.
A consummate professional, This F**king Lady isn’t the first time Amanda has done a one-woman show. However, despite this, she still finds it a challenge.
“I’ve done so many and yet it’s still terrifying. Don’t get me wrong, they’re not easy to do. I love working with other people, so I do find them very difficult. There’s not a lot of actors who will take them on, so I’m a bit of a fool,” she laughs. “But it’s much, much harder. And it’s weird because often people think that one person shows are easy because it’s just one, but it’s just so not true. In this I bounce off the audience, they’re all you’ve got left. And in every one woman show I’ve done, it’s been the audiences that I bounce off because there’s always someone who will call out something. Or someone sneezes at the wrong time. And of course I always make a thing of it.”
Coral was not only known for her extreme acting talent, but also her electric personality. When she wasn’t dominating the West End, she was known as a potty-mouthed, witty, sexually liberated superstar.
“I just keep finding out more and more about Coral Browne and all her lovers. I mean, it’s extraordinary how many affairs this woman had. It’s fabulous. I mean, she wasn’t the most beautiful woman you’ve ever seen in your life, but she had the sexual charisma. She’s just a very fascinating lady. And I think it’s going to be really nice to see her story in a play.”
Amanda has played iconic women throughout history from Maria Callas to Helena Rubenstein, but none quite like Coral. She finds a certain joy in playing real people, as it allows her to do deeper research into their lives to help build her character.
She came she came from West Footscray and left Australia, went to London, she became best friends with Judi Dench and Maggie Smith. They adored her because she never pretended to be anything other than a dinky-di gal. But she learned how to speak correctly, she had elocution because she went to elocution lessons, but of course every other word was “oh, f*ck, darling.” And she did it with such confidence and such sweetness that nobody thought anything of it, because she made it seem so normal back then.
We’re talking 30s, 40s and 50s, they call it a potty mouth. But, you know, it kind of rolls off our tongues, don’t you think? It’s so natural. She even had a fling with Paul Robeson when interracial relationships were really frowned on in the 40s and 50s, but she didn’t care. She she seems to just break every rule that was in the book. But she got away with it. And then, of course, she ends up marrying one of the most famous men in the world in Vincent Price.
Amanda even revealed that she had the opportunity to meet Coral and Vincent in the early 80s. “You know, I remember her because she had a wonderful, throaty voice. She smoked, but she had a great laugh.”
This F**king Lady is playing at the Brunswick Ballroom, a newly opened cabaret and live music venue on Sydney Road. The play marks the first piece of theatre to play the venue, and Amanda is both nervous and thrilled. “I’m the first brave actor to go in because, as you know, it’s a music venue. So I’m testing the waters for and I think it’ll be exciting.”
Coral Browne: This F**king Lady plays from April 6th to 18th as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.
For tickets and more information, visit the Brunswick Ballroom website.