Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s Suffragette drama Her Naked Skin, the final production in the Travelex season and the first new play written by a woman to premiere on the National’s 1,100-seat Olivier stage, opened last night (31 July 2008, previews from 24 July).

Lenkiewicz’s previous plays include The Night Season (which premiered at the NT Cottesloe in 2004 and won her the Critics’ Circle Award for Most Promising Playwright), Soho – A Tale of Table Dancers and Shoreditch Madonna, while her adaptation of Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People ran earlier this year at the Arcola Theatre (See News, 4 Apr 2008).

Set in Holloway prison at the height of the Suffragette movement, Her Naked Skin concerns inmate Lady Celia Cain, whose encounter with a fellow prisoner, young seamstress Eve Douglas, leads her on an erotic but dangerous journey of discovery. It includes graphic depictions of force-feeding and self-harming, which proved too much for some audience members at last night's premiere.

TO SCROLL THROUGH ALL OF HER NAKED SKIN's 1st NIGHT PHOTOS,
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For 1st Night Photos, our Whatsonstage.com photographer Dan Wooller was on hand for the curtain call at the NT’s Olivier theatre.

Lesley Manville, whose previous credits at the National include The Alchemist and His Dark Materials returns to play Lady Celia Cain, while Jemima Rooper plays her lover Eve. The large cast also includes Susan Engel, Adrian Rawlins, Ken Bones and Dermot Kerrigan. Her Naked Skin joins Melly Still’s production of The Revenger's Tragedy in rep, and finishes on 24 September 2008.

- by Theo Bosanquet