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 Bugsy Malone (Clyde Company) at The Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton

Last night I was back at Royal & Derngate to see the Youth Theatre/Young Company production of Bugsy Malone, this time seeing the almost completely different cast of Clyde Company. This second evening of the show had the fortune of running much smoother, with less of the technical issues that had beset the previous evening and restricted the success of some of the scenes.

It was most apparent in the Fat Sam's Grand Slam scene, which became a greater hive of activity, with a full dance routine taking place, which unfortunately hadn't happened the previous night. Leading this scene was a full-on performance from Morgan Charles as Tullulah, exhibiting the vocal talent, and most especially the dance skills she had shown in last years Fame.

In the lead for this second company, and taking a much different approach to the role, was Nathan Stroud. Here we had a more mature Bugsy, not just in age, but in personality. The slightly more serious style worked excellently alongside a st…

Review of Planet Circus OMG! 2016 at Billing Aquadrome, Northampton

An unexpected call from a friend who had received a free ticket, à la Willy Wonka's Golden Ticket, to go and see a circus for free, left me sitting in a circus tent a few hours later for the first time in about thirty years.


It was a wise, albeit on occasion, scary decision. I have to confess that when seeing shows like this, where there is an element of danger involved I do tend to squirm into the chair I sit. This happened mostly during the opening act of the second half of the show, the suitably titled Wheel Of Death. I rolled into an uncomfortable ball, while the five or six year old behind me gleefully shouted that "they are going to die!".


This was a scary welcome to the second act, after the first much more relaxing first half. It works excellently and is credit to producer and director Mark Whitney that the show is perfectly balanced, with the bulk of traditional circus arts in the first half, while the more spectacular and often more modern feeling ones are in …

Review of The Crucible at Royal & Derngate (Underground), Northampton

A few weeks ago I headed down to London to see this years graduating University of Northampton BA Actors perform Arthur Miller's classic The Crucible, and while it was generally spotlessly performed, as expected, the staging of it was tremendously dull, offering little stimulation beyond just the words being said. It made a classic, quite dull as a result. There was no such issue with The Actors Company production, staged in the atmospheric Underground space, and directed with such style and flair by Fay Lomas, to make Miller's play unrecognisable from that London version.

Based around the Salem Witch Trials in Massachusetts, Reverend Parris (a tough uncompromising performance from Steve While) comes across a group of girls dancing in the forest. When one of the girls, Betty (Laura Green), falls into a coma, events spiral out of control for many of the residents of the town, as accusations fly. Soon, Judge Danforth (Sue Whyte) is on the scene, and the lives of the residents a…