As you like it Sept.15th, ’16

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Yes!!! Interactive Shakespeare!!! Everyone in the audience got a little baggie with a twig, a blue fan (the colour is of importance), a clothes pin, a poem, a paper crown, but also stones, carrots,stars. And then we turned into trees, waves, we got glowing stones for a barbeque, little boxes that made sheep sounds and bells, so that we could play goats. We clapped, sang along with the actors, some audience members even got on stage to dance. To say that was brilliant would be underselling this event.

Add to that a fantastic cast, led by the goddess Hymen (Robin Hutton) who directed the audience both on stage and in the rows and magic is happening.

Set in the 1980ies in Newfoundland (one actor spoke the dialect but was mercifully translated … damn, it’s a totally different language) you have daring costumes (yes, we did wear that kind of atrocities in public. May those times never return!!) the story about a disgraced duchess who runs into the woods, a young woman, Rosalind, who is cast out by her uncle (Scott Wentworth) and flees with his daughter into the woods while dressed as a man, followed by Orlando, another cast away younger son,who’s in love with Rosalind, meeting a Shepard and his shepardess, finding shelter, becoming better versions of themselves and finally finding the love they all were looking for – with a little help of a goddess of course. It could be a fluff piece but it fits right into the festival’s theme of fugitives, finding new home and happiness despite large obstacles being shoved at the individuals.

Robin Hutton was a brilliant Maître d. , organising the audience with the help of the actors, so that in the end we all were part of the play.

I also love to see actors doing Macbeth one day and As you like it the next (or like Scott Wentworth As you like it as a matinee and John Gabriel Borkman in the evening) – it shows off the great range of talent this rare company possesses. It was an amazing play and is definitely must see theatre in the best Shakespearian way.

 

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The Taming of the Shrew Sept.18th, ’15

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They clearly outdid themselves with this one. Brilliant just doesn’t cover it.

Even before the play, while ppl are still coming in, actors file out and talk to the audience. Where are you from. (Once again I won 😁) and Tom Rooney assured me they would do part of the play in high high high German, so I might not even be able to understand it. 😂

And that little encounter set the pace for an incredible, farcical, physical show that had us all in stitches.

It all starts with a row – a member of the audience, rather disheveled looking, with a drunkard’s nose and dirty hair, claims to be “a blogger” and demands special treatment for Sound of music, the other huge show at the festival theatre. It was only then that I recognised Ben Carlson under the hilarious mask!

The story is of course well known – I like to call the play “Stockholm Syndrome” – but set in Shakespeare’s time it just oozes sarcasm, irony and a good deal of not so child proof cock-jokes. It is also – in this direction by Chris Abraham- a negotiation between two headstrong characters who try to make their lives work with without losing themselves in the process. Carlson and his real life wife Deborah Hay are perfect sparring partners in this never ending fight that slowly turns into an erotically charged banter. In their last scene where Kate (seemingly tamed) offers to put her hand under her husband’s foot, she stands above Petrucchio, until he charges to her, grips the offered hand and – while embracing her tightly – guides her hand to his manhood, knowing quite well who is pulling whom  and how in their lives.

Add to that the way they turn aa brawl in the audience into Shakespearian verse as soon as The Blogger enters the stage, and you have theatre magic at its best. Special cudos to Tom Rooney, Mike Shara, Cyrus Lane and of course Carlson and Hay. This is why I love to come here…

Possible Worlds Sept.18th, ’15

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It’s a weird little play in the small studio theatre they use when there’s either experimental plays or readings. Set in and around a shallow pool of water, just an inch or so high, George (Cyrus Lane) wakes up in the water, naked, wet, and puts on his clothes. Like so many times before he searches for Joyce. He keeps finding her, in a cafe, in a disco, sometimes she’s interested in him, sometimes not. There is also the world, where they live together and are happy. Where they sit on the beach…

Meanwhile police is investigating a series of murders with a twist: the victims’ brains are missing. And the inspector discovers that a scientist experiments on rat brains. Is it a surprise that they finally find the missing human brains in the scientist’s cupboard, still “alive” , still in a dreamlike state?

The play didn’t grip me much. The lighting was basically missing, maybe to reinforce the dreamworld it was supposed to depict. I still don’t understand why everyone was in this shallow pool. That said, the premise is quite interesting: What happens to all the other lives we might have led? And what if one could sample them all? This blend of romantic thriller, science fiction and whodunit is above all a love story that spans several universes – or does it? That’s the official tag line btw and why I booked my ticket.