Each year, The Crescent Theatre takes its final show of the season out on tour. After a warm up in our Ron Barber Studio, the public are encouraged to “join us at a selection of the finest outdoor venues in the Midlands to experience great open air theatre.” My involvement last year was in capacity of set design (Pride & Prejudice), whereas this year’s role allowed for glorious frolicking in the sunshine, around the delightfully rural grounds of Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens… give me blogging any day! (#kidding, a bit of both will do just fine.)
The 17th Century splendour that is Castle Bromwich Hall is set in 10 acres of walled gardens that simply take your breath away, a magnificent backdrop for Oscar Wilde‘s well-known and best loved play, The Importance of Being Earnest.
I hadn’t seen the play before but this tale of two young men living in 1890’s England, slyly using the same pseudonym (“Ernest”) in order to “get the girl”, had me chuckling along with the rest of the audience members… C’mon, you’ve gotta love ‘mistaken identity mishaps’.
The quality of the acting was superb, especially the impromptu comedic pauses as the airplanes inconveniently went over (and boy did they just keep coming)! But no feathers were ruffled… the audience found it hilarious, the cast weren’t even phased and judging by director Barry Dudley’s interval “pep-talk”, he was certainly a happy chappy.
Michaela Redican’s ‘Lady Bracknell’ was as visually dynamic as she was audible… hats off to costume and wardrobe for the period dress BTW! Richard Dawes as ‘Algernon’ gave me the most giggles I think… very charismatic and the synergy between his character and that of ‘Jack Worthing’ (Nathan Blythe) was effortless. I couldn’t possibly find fault with any of the nine cast members’ performances to be honest. All in all it was a wonderful adaptation of a classic play, a play that many in the audience had seen and loved and were not left disappointed today, “thank heavens!”
I was actually quite miffed about missing Earnest during its run in the studio, but after today’s immersive experience I’m not quite sure how the indoor performances could even compare. So listen up… you’ve still got a bit of time to catch this one, miss it, miss out!
Well done to everyone that’s been involved in this year’s touring production, whether you’re cast, crew or front of house. The hard work has definitely paid off, if my audience mingling is anything to go by. And even though I’m paying the price now (my hayfever has reared its ugly head) it was TOTALLY worth it!
Love Kami xxx