From 3rd July for 3 nights, Sue Dyson’s Marmalade Theatre Company (www.marmaladetheatre.com) put on Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ in Wendy and Bob May’s spectacular garden at Hogg End.
Weeping fig, steps leading down to a low grassy area with a low semi-circular wall, clematis climbing up posts, giant cow parsley, huge spires of delphiniums, fluffy heads of alchemila mollis and the dainty daisy erigeron karvinskianus: it could only be the perfect setting for a play.
This is a comedy portraying the marriage of the Duke of Alban, Theseus and Hippolyta. These include the adventures of four young lovers. Hermia loves Lysander and Helena loves Demetrius – but Demetrius is supposed to be marrying Hermia. When the Duke of Alban tries to enforce the marriage the lovers take refuge in Prae woods and wander into the midst of a dispute between the King and Queen of the fairies Oberon and Titanya. In the same Prae wood come a group of Albanian craftsmen rehearsing a play they hope to perform at the Duke’s wedding and hilarious events occur as the fairies control and manipulate the characters.
On the warm Summer evenings, the audience sat around on rugs or camping chairs with their picnic baskets and champagne corks were popping. Even the rain on Friday evening didn’t put anybody off and we were treated to a wonderful performance. How lucky we are to have such talented actors from our local theatre groups. All the proceeds went to St. Michael’s Church and Parkinson’s UK.
Drama at the Roman Theatre
Last September Ovo theatre company performed Imogen de la Bere's new play, 'Boudicca at Verulamium' at the Maltings Arts Theatre. The venue seemed very appropriate given the subject matter of the play depicting events in the Roman era. This year, the writer/director and company reprised the performance amongst the ruins of the Roman Amphitheatre itself before large, enthusiastic audiences. The setting created an even stronger sense of time and place, a sense enhanced by the onset of the darkness of a late summer evening. When Vincent McLoughlin playing Titus, one of the captive Roman soldiers, referred to Verulamium in scene 3 as "quite pretty before she scorched it. Nice theatre, I saw Euripides' Erechtheus there" a ripple of appreciation flowed through the audience. And I'm sure that when in scene 10 Lucius, another Roman captive, eulogised about Roman wine "pressed from the warm grapes, harvested by loving hands" it made the wine we'd brought taste more luscious still. The whole cast was excellent and the music written by David Podd and performed by vocalist, alto flute and harp added to the enchantment of a wonderful evening.