The Language of Flowers

A Swashbuckling Princess' True Tale

8 Aug to 8 Sep

Full Price: £15 | Affordable: £5 | Online: £1 plus optional donation
Produced and presented by Medusa Collective

Music: Charlotte Marlow
Words: Cecil Castellucci

On Stage - Live Performance: 7:00pm - 7:30pm, 8 August, £15/£5

Live Online - Interactive Broadcast: 7:00pm - 8:00pm, 11 August, £1

On Demand - Interactive Broadcast Recording: 11 August - 8 September, £1

“She drinks, smokes, swears, [and] is scarily ugly”— men would say, yet women would say “she was a lady to her fingertips”. Who was the enigmatic Princess Metternich?

The most infamous belle laide in Paris, she helped birth haute couture, introduced Wagner to Paris, and was a muse to painters such as Degas, had countless songs written about her, was known to turn cartwheels in her crinoline, founded a smokers’ club where she and her friends enjoyed cigars, and smuggled the crown jewels out of France after the Second Empire fell.

She was close to Empress Eugenie, with whom she made waves across Europe with her daring style and enduring friendship.

The threads Princess Pauline Metternich wove into the fabric of western history have mostly been lost to time.

Now, she is largely remembered for her infamous and disputed emancipated topless duel with a countess over a flower arrangement.

So who was the real Pauline Metternich?

Come and join Medusa Collective as New York Times bestselling author Cecil Castellucci and composer Charlotte Marlow and a woman and non-binary led collective bring a feminist and forward facing look at Pauline’s legacy to a scratch performance of this new work combining sequential art and opera, featuring new art from several exciting comic book artists.

This performance contains mild injury and non-sexual nudity. Please be aware this is a scratch performance and as such is still a work in progress.

The interactive broadcast includes a Q&A with the cast and creative team.

Age range: PG-13
Content advisories: Mild threat and violence, non-sexual nudity


We ask our audiences to stay home if there is any risk of infection, and to stick to one metre social distancing at all times. 

We continue to:

  • Reduce the number of people using spaces in the building
  • Maintain COVID safe cleaning regimes   
  • Make available bottles of hand sanitiser and wipes throughout the building
  • Open all the doors and windows to aid air-flow and fill the place with potted plants that cheer us all up (and calm us all down).

For this show we are keeping managed social distancing in place. 

We also request that everyone wear a mask when moving around the building, wash their hands often and practice self-distancing. Our companies and audiences will include Clinically Extremely Vulnerable people. We want everyone to feel and be safe.

  • You will be asked to queue outside in your bubbles, so wear weather-relevant clothes and let us know if you or anyone you know has a mobility or standing difficulty by emailing the Box Office.   
  • We will check you in on arrival. You may be asked for ID so please have some handy. 
  • We will show you straight into the auditorium - unless you need to use the facilities - where you will be seated in your bubbles
  • There will be one way systems in place.  Our gorgeous stewards will guide you and show you how to leave should you need to.
  •  In the auditorium, another gorgeous steward will check our seating plan and show you to your seat(s). Like in a restaurant. 


We will be running a normal bar service with extra tables for your drinking comfort.


For more information on how things work, have a look at our dedicated Covid:19 page.