Incredible true story of Anne Bonny and Mary Read, the most notorious female pirates of all time – and their forgotten queer romance
Hell Cats tells the amazing true story of notorious female pirates Anne Bonny and Mary Read, and their queer romance that has been buried by history.
As young women in the 18th century, Bonny and Read defied every expectation placed on them.
Both were born out of wedlock and into poverty, and were raised as boys to give them a better chance in life.
But despite pressure from their families to become respectable members of society, the two women broke free, as the new Audible Original podcast Hell Cats reveals.
While Anne burned down her father’s slave plantation and, at just 18 years old, ran off to the Bahamas with her male lover, Mary continued to dress as a man to escape to sea and work on a ship.
Through dramatic twists of fate, Anne and Mary found their way to piracy and to each other.
Embarking on an incredible adventure together, while also finding revenge on the men who had wronged them, the two pirates became possibly the most impressive power couple – and the most well-known female pirates – of all time.
Hell Cats, written by Carina Rodney and directed by Kate Saxon, captures the whirlwind drama of the pirates’ lives in a gripping tour de force of audio drama. The series immerses the listener in high-seas drama with a diverse cast of 52 voice actors.
Michelle Fox (Overshadowed, A Very English Scandal) plays Bonny, with Erin Doherty (The Crown, Les Miserables) as Read and Fisayo Akinade (Russel T Davies’ Cucumber and Banana) as Pierre Bouspeut.
While the podcast series has healthy doses of treasure, duelling and swashbuckling, it also artfully explores themes of queer love, gender expression, equality and freedom.
It’s a poignant tale for queer listeners and an exciting piece of LGBT-storytelling, refreshingly different from the norm.
You can feel the action swirling around you as Bonny and Read subvert expectations, outsmarting law enforcement and leaving a line of scorned ex-lovers in their wake.
At its core Hell Cats is a story of two fearless queer women, bringing to life erased and forgotten LGBT+ history, and giving Bonny and Read the recognition they deserve.
Hell Cats is available exclusively on Audible, and an exclusive limited run of Hell Cats merch is available through Audible’s Instagram.