All’s Well That Ends Well

at Stratford Upon Avon

Rounding off our mini Shakespeare fix for July 2013, last Monday evening found us primed and ready for action at the RSC.

Primed you ask…well, fisting a programme (half-perused); post a champagne swifty; seated comfortably – all eyes to the stage; attempting to suppress the excitement levels which were threatening to make my stomach gurgle.

You see experience has taught me well. The RSC can’t produce rubbish. They can’t even manage half-rubbish.  Try as they might – they can only produce exceptionally great theatre. And though I might rabbit on about bad theatre being preferable to no theatre, great theatre is King. So post my demi-look through the paperwork – not for plot obviously, rather to star gaze upon the talent – I removed the heels, reclined a little more and proceeded to take in a 3 hour festival of Top Shelf entertainment.

Let’s look further at the detail
Not intending to give the whole game away – I do feel duty bound to enlighten you a touch.

First things first, don’t be fooled dear audience by all those whom appear initially nice, in particular one young, not male character. She’s so crafty…outrageously so.

Secondly, be very grateful that the King of France doesn’t hold sway like he used to, specifically his power to ‘love match’ his subjects.

In addition, be prepared to enjoy a fine scene between a handful of soldiers, a blindfolded Parolles and a deeply shocked Bertram.

Not enough said, the cast are faultless and the kind of people you’d be so happy to discover turned up on stage at a venue near you.

And further good news – it’s running till the 26th September.

Twelfth Night – Propeller

Hampstead Theatre, London

Cuddling the opportunity to see three of Shakespeare’s plays in six nights, last Saturday (20 July) found us three, plus one Grannie, on evening Number 2 of our exciting calendar of drama. This time in a venue unknown previously to us all, the Hampstead Theatre, located approximately 30 seconds skipping from Swiss Cottage Tube.

The theatre itself is fabulous, intimate, provides really comfy seats and the bar – kindly well stocked.

The production – so deserving of a screechy ‘YIPEE’ and huge gratitude to the youngest member of our team for recommending it.

Down to the detail:
Briefly, the Propeller are an all-male Shakespeare company, who provide you, the audience, with Top Shelf appreciation and understanding of the text, whilst plying you with entertainment and leaving you feeling so much better for it.

The talent of the troupe is considerable with each and every member perfectly cast, in particular Liam O’Brien as Feste, Vince Leigh as Sir Toby Belch, Gary Shelford as Maria, John Dougall as Sir Andrew Aguecheek and Joseph Chance as Viola – with the latter, specifically bringing to an incredibly difficult part, a strength I have yet to see in any other portrayals of the role.

In terms of Direction – I’ve just discovered my new Director crash, for Edward Hall couldn’t have done a better job.

Set design – Mirrors and reflection were used to great effect along with wardrobes that turned into doors off stage.  And there’s also a shout out to the triangular green trees and statue in Olivia’s Garden (Act II Scene 5) which were so cleverly devised and key to the amusing telling of the tale.

Costumes – well considered and utilised admirably to draw distinction and to demonstrate where one could easily fall foul of ‘mistaken identity’.

Unfortunately the show is now over….Happily though, they are returning November 2013 with A Midsummer Night’s Dream and in January with A Comedy of Errors.

And finally, I’ve just discovered that if I become a TOP PROPS ‘Friend’ of the group, I could secure real contact with these players (+ even the Director), for I’d be invited ‘to additional rehearsal and meetings’ have ‘regular contact with the company and a warm welcome to join Propeller on overseas trips and at social events throughout the year’.  Just imagine my extreme pleasure and maybe their concern…now to find the cash…