Thursday, July 21, 2011

Twelfth Night at Gawsworth Hall

Last night  a few of us took a trip into darkest Cheshire to see perform Twelfth Night at Gawsworth Hall.  A 90 minute trip thorough Stockport's rush hour.

The hall is an ancient, half timbered, very beautiful house with lovely gardens.  You are encouraged to bring a picnic to eat on the lawns before the performance.  This is one of the loveliest nights of the year for me.  Luckily the rain stopped for the evening.  The Rain Gods must be fans of Shakespear.  Once we finished our al fresco dinner it was time to take our seats.  This was our view of the stage.

The auditorium is covered but it was quite a chilly night for July.  We were all thoroughly wrapped up but it crept into my bones.  My only complaint about the whole night was the seats.  They are small and not at all comfortable.  Not even my FC Internazionale seat cushion prevented discomfort.

The cast played very much to the crowd and for laughs.  This was a very funny performance with the cast putting in much gusto.  The story is very easy to follow for ol' Shakey.  So into the fun you could dive.  The actor playing the fool was excellent.  Kept you laughing whilst every now and then giving you something to think about.  Malvolio was played very well.  Pomposity abounded.  The actor giving his all had to be the guy playing Sir Toby Belch.  He gave it his all and plenty there was to give.  Sit Andrew Aguecheek was as flamboyant as they come and lacked any known butch characteristics.  His performance never dropped for a second.  Not even whilst 'in hiding'.

It's nice to see a Shakespeare play where women seem to be ultimately calling the shots.  The woman were played much 'straighter' there were no laughs at them.  I liked this as it gave a balance to the performance.  It stayed just the right side of bawdy.

The costumes were lovely.  Seemed to be selected from a variety of eras and style with just enough of a historical air so as not to distract.  Those costumes, in that setting, with fairy lights in the trees once it got dark.  Well, it was a pretty magical scene.  I'm afraid I haven't got any more photo's as the light was terrible for taking pictures on a phone camera.

I am beginning to think Shakespeare didn't see ships as a safe form of travel.  I think were he alive now air crashes would feature in his work

I'd score this one 4.5 pawprints out of 5

I'm looking forward to next year's show.  I wonder what it will be....  Next year though we'll get there early and take a look around the manor house.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like it was a great night, albeit for the seats... I once went to see Midsummer Night Dream at Kenilworth Castle and that was fantastic. There was no seating arrangement, so it was blanket on the ground and picnic... it was just perfect!
I do love going to see plays in those sort of places, it does add to the magic of it all.

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