Skip to main content

Review of The Shakespeare Story Trail from Royal & Derngate, Northampton

The Shakespeare Story Trail from Royal & Derngate and written and directed by Erica Martin with stellar production from Helen Gibb, was a tour de force, as through elaborately organised perfection we traversed Northampton. We visited thirteen different locations within Northampton town centre, and following a coach trip, in Abington Park, this was a delight of not only street theatre, but interactive and education as well.

Our hosts for the event were William Shakespeare (Davin Eadie) and his mischievous fairy, Puck (Keith Maddern). William is suffering writers block working on his play and needs some inspiration so he invites us to journey with him around the town for wonderful ideas. So via Northampton Castle, Hazelrigg House, Market Square, Royal & Derngate and ending at Abington Park, we meet many a character from the bards tales and stories from history.

Those thinking that this was just a walking tour (as was my companion of the day) were in for a big surprise. Throughout our journey there were conga's on the square, mask and ruff making, hats with sheep, a ball with dancing and bagpipes and chants of "knock! knock!" and "PUCK!" It all combined to make an incredibly entertaining afternoon and was also wonderfully enjoyed by the many children also on the journey. Here is hoping that this is the start for them of a life of theatre loving.

Our two travelling companions were magnificently played by Eadie and Maddern, breathing life into their characters and maintaining them exceptionally well in their banter on the journeys between locations. They were also complimented with a tremendous band of actors in the other roles, resourced from ex-University of Northampton student actors, R&D Youth Theatre and Actors Company members and Masque Theatre. It was an absolute delight to see them coming together as one to create such an immersive atmosphere for this anniversary.

So a fabulous and slightly unexpected delight, as I could never have imagined that this would provide such an fulfilling two and a half hours of entertainment (and at staggering value) as it did. It was pinpoint perfect in its organisation, especially considering the number of outside variables that could have occurred. It was a tremendous achievement for all involved and was wonderful to be a part of.

««««

Performance reviewed: Saturday 23rd (afternoon), 2016 at the Royal & Derngate, Northampton.


The Shakespeare Story Trail was held on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th April, 2016 only.

For further details about the Royal & Derngate visit their website at http://www.royalandderngate.co.uk/

Popular posts from this blog

Review of The Worst Witch at Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton

Jill Murphy's The Worst Witch first appeared in print in 1974, bringing its tale of an academy for witches to the first of a few generations. It was a long time before a certain boy wizard made his first appearance in a school of his own, and doesn't Emma Reeves, adaptor for the stage, know it. There are many a jibe at the HP universe in this stage version, that even I, someone who has never read or watched any of them (yes, really), could pick up.

Mildred Hubble arrives by mistake at the wrong university, a "normal" or "pleb" far removed from the rest of the students at Miss Cackle's Academy. Here she meets friends and enemies, and a certain evil twin bent on world domination.

Reeves' adaptation starts off slightly shakily as we are presented with what at first threatens to be a cheap rip-off of the mega stage hit The Play That Goes Wrong as we are introduced to the premise that this is a play put on by the students, complete with copycat stage ma…

Review of The Pillowman at The Playhouse Theatre, Northampton

The Pillowman sounds such a friendly title, and to be fair, his story is one of the lighter aspects of Martin McDonagh's script. It still involves dead children though, if you want to get a clear vision of how dark this play is.

Set in a police state of the future, Katurian (Toby Pugh) is taken in for the content of his often violent stories and a similarity to a spate of recent child killings. Here in detention cell 13, his police captors, Tupolski (Adrian Wyman) and Ariel (Steve While) play good cop, bad cop while holding over the threat of violence against Katurian's mentally disabled brother Michal (Patrick Morgan), being held in another cell.

The Pillowman is clearly a very warped story, with the blackest of black comedy, and often also very offensive with it's racial stereotyping and disability. In fact, it is no surprise that a couple left in the interval, as I would happily admit that this play is far from everyone. I like a good black comedy though, and lifting an …

Review of Broadway Lights And West End Nights at Northampton College

I have followed the acting course at the University of Northampton for the last five years now, but this Saturday I experienced the Level 3 Musical Theatre group at Northampton College for the first time, as they presented a performance by their first and second-year students. The evidence from this first encounter suggests that there is some very good talent on its way through this course.

The evening presented a nicely varied selection of performances from six shows, Avenue Q, Rent, The Lion King, Cats, Mary Poppins and Sweet Charity, both providing some lovely singing routines and a few of pure dance, allowing the students to show many of their, very obvious, skills.

From the collection of 21 routines presented, there were a few standout moments, the best of which for myself was Mungojerrie & Rumpleteazer performed by Tom Kalek and Lily Cushway. This was a routine of such polish that I would happily have watched on any stage, never mind a student performance. Kaley and Cushway…