September 2015 saw Nigel reunited with director Christopher Luscombe when he composed the score for a new play at Shakespeare's Globe, Nell Gwynn, by Jessica Swale. It was Nigel's fifth production at the Globe, having previously scored The Merry Wives of Windsor, Romeo and Juliet, Henry VIII and The Knight of the Burning Pestle.
The production transferred to the Apollo Theatre in London's West End and played there until April 30th 2016, starring Gemma Arterton in the iconic role of Nell. A national tour of Nell Gwynn has been announced for 2017.
"It is much helped by Nigel Hess's score, which sets bawdy lyrics to seductive melodies and sends the audience out humming Nell's: "I can dance and I can sing / And I can do the other thing"." Michael Billington, The Guardian ****
"Composer Nigel Hess's gorgeous compositions co-exist organically with a cast who light up the stage." Mark Shenton, The Stage *****
"The play is infused with beautiful music by Nigel Hess." Laura-Jane Foley, London Theatre *****
"Blessed with some ripe comic ditties from Nigel Hess." Fiona Mountford, Evening Standard ****
"Nigel Hess's Purcell-like songs hit every musical target." Warwick Thompson, Blouin ArtInfo
"To have musicians performing live throughout a play is such a luxury; the music performed throughout, written by Nigel Hess, creates the most excitingly magical of atmospheres....I found myself singing as I left the theatre." Andrew Tomlins, West End Frame *****
"The songs (with music composed by Nigel Hess) are inspired....a big hit with the audience." Michaela Clement-Hayes, West End Wilma *****
"Nigel Hess has provided quite fabulous music to bolster the joys here. The tunes are bright, snappy, catchy and exuberant. They feel like they might be sending up the style of the time, in a sort of Spamalot fashion, but it is more than that: the song and dance sections seduce the audience, liven them up and set them up for the darker parts of Gwynn’s tale. The musicians play superbly and the attack of the cast is faultless. For a company of actors, the harmonies are beautifully conveyed, the diction excellent, the style exactly right." Stephen Collins, Live Theatre UK *****