Reviews of 'The Vicar of Dibley'
Reviews of 'Bits of The Bard'
Review by Peter Breach, NODA
The impressive gardens of 15th century Ayscoughfee Hall were the setting for this informative and highly entertaining outdoor performance which featured information about Shakespeare and included various extracts from some of his well-known plays, with a sprinkling of related comedy and songs.
The opening number was a lively rendition of ‘Another opening’ from the show ‘Kiss me Kate’, a modern take on the Bard’s ‘The taming of the shrew’. This was followed by a domestic argument from ‘A midsummer night’s dream’ involving Oberon (Troy Melvin) and Titania (Angela Davis) and witnessed by Puck (Sophie Butler-Honeybun). The intensity of this heated argument was such that I believe it would have surpassed any seen in ‘Eastenders’, and it was in stark contrast with Puck’s use of movement and mime that created the impression of a mischievous being with magical powers who did not require words. Philip Bosworth’s comedic adaptation of the dagger speech from ‘Macbeth’ was well delivered by Nick Fletcher playing the part of an accomplished Shakespearean actor who manages to upset the stage crew and as a result his performance suffers. An extract from ‘The Tempest’ contained classic performances from Peter Crerer (Prospero), Chloe Jaynes (Miranda), May Daniels (Ariel) and Jonathan Tibbs (Caliban) after which Act 1 was brought to a close with another song from ‘Kiss me Kate’ – ‘Brush up your Shakespeare’.
Act 2 included another extract from ‘Macbeth’ which featured the three Witches (Janet Staples, Alison Honeybun & Colette Coleman) who conducted their updated version round a pressure cooker, as opposed to a cauldron! Sophie Butler-Honeybun’s delivery of Sonnet 18 was superb, as were Peter Crerer’s speeches from ‘The Tempest’. The very funny presentation of the Rustics play was well appreciated by the audience and at the close of the proceedings it was most appropriate that Puck should wish them Goodnight using the bidding from ‘A midsummer night’s dream’.
This was a highly entertaining performance, cleverly formatted and delivered with much skill. The costumes were excellent and there was innovative use of make-up. Congratulations to all involved in delivering this show in such a wonderful location.