Open Air Shakespeare - Tollthorpe

>>  Friday, June 19, 2015

Tollthorpe Open Air Theatre is home to the Stamford Shakespeare Company.

There is easy parking and large open spaces to picnic before the show.

The audience is under the cover of a very pert like roof.

(This photo was taken last summer when we went to see As you Like It.)

The stage is not under cover at all. It is a lovely place on a summer's evening to watch a play as dusk settles and the stage lighting takes over.

So this week we watched the wettest Romeo and Juliet possible without doing it in a swimming pool.

It was sheer entertainment watching the sword fights and wondering, given how slippy the floor was, whether Mercutios's death was actually going to the most realistic ever known.

There is something really special about nature providing the stage scenery.  Last year I was amazed at the canal that appeared and the boat that came on and off stage.  This year Friar Lawrence's cell was under the stage and there was much up and down walking by the actors.  So whilst the stage looks like it is flat on the ground, clearly there is a full theatre set up cleverly disguised in amongst it's simplicity.

Romeo had blood staining on the arm of his sodden shirt after a stumble during a particularly violent run, this did not appear to be a theatrical trick, poor lad, it must have been ever so sore.

There is no curtain so the 'dead bodies' had to be removed during the interval.

Despite it being mid-June the rain continued to poor and the blanket and gloves came out.

Cog said she really enjoyed the play and the acting but she was soooooo cold. (I noted the more graceful and glamorous ladies in the audience with spangley sandals and lovely summer dresses on, whilst I wore enough layers to see me fit for winter camp and had an old lady blanket on my lap!)

At the end, any remaining 'living actors' left the stage as a part of the play leaving the dead Romeo and Juliet entwined in love and a pool of water.

Being no curtain, there is no curtain call, so the play ended without the correct amount of applause and appreciation you expect to give.

It was really odd just standing up and leaving with Romeo and Juliet still lying 'dead' on stage.  I bet they were willing every one to leave quickly as they had hardly got time for a hot bath and hair dryer over the wettest costumes before the evening performance started.

I really enjoyed it.  They are an excellent company, word perfect (as far as I would know or very quick witted ad-libbers), clear and easy to understand and the amount of Shakespearean over act pitched very well.  I don't feel at all out of my depth and I intend to keep going back.  It really is a most enjoyable time out, even in the most inclement weather.


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