Low life mixes with high ideals in this engaging biography of American suffragette, free love campaigner and Presidential candidate, Victoria Woodhull.

Summoned from the spirit world for us by performer/producer Ashley Ford – the framing device also neatly dials us in to Woodhull’s own interest in spiritualism – she narrates her own life story in eloquent detail, with occasional interjections from her sister Tennessee, portrayed here as a stocking-flashing saloon girl.

Victoria’s righteous polemicising, Tennie’s unrighteous eyelash-batting – the contrast between the two is indicative of the wide spectrum of society in which the sisters mix. And of course, the ugly truth of the times is that both tactics need employing if Victoria is to advance herself and her cause.

Victoria’s is a complex journey from Ohio to California to New York to Washington, with an abusive father, controlling husband, noble lover and randy tycoon as bit players. She becomes famed for her clairvoyance, opens a liberal newspaper, becomes a Wall Street trader… the breadth of her career is staggering. Rich in biographical and rhetorical detail, it never feels dry. Ford skips along, bringing a lyrical quality to even the densest parts of the script, written by her husband and partner in Owl & Pussycat Theatre, Theo Salter.

While the fight for women’s democratic rights feels like familiar historical ground, Woodhull’s stance on free love is as curious to us now as it was scandalous then, and her spiritual beliefs provide a fascinatingly odd context. There’s a maverick edge to her, which the framed portrait we’re shown doesn’t betray, but the play and its spirit world reveries convey well.

“Well, that was very interesting,” says a fellow audience member brightly to her companion on departure and it’s hard to disagree.