Saturday, March 19, 2005

Sweet Willy Shakey

Friday 18th March

Well, as instructed when we bought the tickets, we arrived early to ensure a car parking place. Having a small car we can tuck in to the smallest space and whip out again just as easily. The car park was almost full when we arrived, as was the entrance foyer and upper foyer. We wandered around clutching our J2Os (Apple & Mango flavour, of course) until we found a spare corner to sit and wait a while for the doors of the auditorium to open. The building is quite modern in structure and is a ‘theatre in the round’ but this was the first time we had been up on the balcony so didn’t know what to expect. The seating was okay and the view only slightly restricted. I had to lean forward to see the area where the drums and other instruments had been set out for the performers to use throughout the play. Cue the first entrance of the “rude mechanicals”, regulars at the Tabard Inn, who were the main characters of the play. They arrived centre stage to the sound of jazz which soon turned to their rapping out the first song which culminated in the line “he’s sweet Willy Shakey from Stratford Town” rather like an ageing, Tudor Blazin’ Squad. The gist of the story is, of course, the influence these folk have on Shakespeare and his use of their characters in his plays. Fat Jack, played by Barry Rutter, was as you may guess Sir John Falstaff, the bellows mending twins no doubt the Dromios of the sister play being performed by the company, A Comedy of Errors. I won’t go any further, for fear of spoiling it for those who may wish to catch it on tour, except to say what a wonderful night’s entertainment it was, I laughed and almost cried. After the interval two people in the next run of seats didn’t return, what a shame, was it perhaps the song containing the immortals lines “And a Fol de roll, and a rum tum tum, with a large stick of rhubarb up your bum” that put them off?

Highlight of the day - well, of course seeing the play.
Today’s gripe – nope – don’t have one.

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