In an extraordinary summer, we managed to put on all our events and even have audiences for all of them – because after all we’re British, and undeterred by torrents and gales!
After Dick’s Day and the Beekeepers’ meeting, both sunny and warm almost like summer, we had a reasonable day for Oliver Goldsmith’s comedy She Stoops to Conquer. DOT Productions’ performance was an absolute joy and then (who could ask for more?) along came Oliver Twist!!! Both actors and audience drove through a lake (at the roundabout) and a river (the lane to the Green) to get to the Cottage. The stage was a pond, the rain poured steadily down, and we watched Oliver, in a different and darker version of the musical, grow up in poverty and violence. The narrator, Charles Dickens himself, was our guide through Oliver’s early working life in the funeral parlour, and later through the depravity and horror of his association with Fagin and Bill Sykes, to his eventual rescue by Mr. Brownlow through the intervention of Nancy.
Players and audience were both under the shelter of the marquee, and it was a tribute to the players that we became completely absorbed in the play. The strength of the acting – particularly in the violent scenes between Fagin, Sykes and Nancy – meant we completely forgot our surroundings. Scene changes were swift and performances strong and clear – the players ignoring rain and mud in true theatrical tradition. Applause all round for the Wadham Players and their director Michael Michael!
The next weekend was fine and warm, but still very muddy, so Love’s Labour’s Lost was also on the croquet lawn, but this time the actors were outside the marquee! Set in the Swinging Sixties, this play was full of fun and laughter, unbelievably imaginative business, great music and a talented and energetic cast who made the most of the comedy and had the audience in fits of laughter! and this was Shakespeare!
Love’s Labour’s Lost is not an easy play to cast; it needs eight youthful actors of equal ability to carry the play! It demands players able to disguise themselves convincingly, to present a plot which is hard to swallow and, as a special twist to this production, to do all this in “Sixties” mode.
No problem for the Southend Shakespeare Company! This most professional cast gave us a cracking performance. Congratulations!
We are all looking forward to our last event, the Autumn Open Day on September16th.
The garden is open from 12 noon to 5pm.
We hope we have sunshine and lots of visitors – if you’ve not been before in autumn, it’s a very beautiful and special time of year!
See you there!