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Picnic and play in the park

Sunday evening, Steve, Helen, Ven and I went to the Botanical Gardens to see Heartbreak's production of 'An Ideal Husband'. We've seen several of their adaptations before, though apparently not last year. When the weather's nice, it's a lovely setting, in the park, with trees and flowers around, and the occasional squirrel zipping about the place.

Heartbreak have small touring companies - usually just five or six performers per play. It means doubling up of parts, and inviting the audience to use their imagination. The staging is always inventive too. In this case, a square gazebo/bandstand arrangement stood in for all the rooms, with dining chairs lifted on and off stage as necessary for props. Everyone wore a basic black servant's costume, adding accessories like shawl, jacket or bustle and train to become other characters.

We arrived very early, at ten past six, not least because parking can be difficult then. We waved my blue badge at the staff and were delighted to be allowed to drive right into the Gardens and park in a disabled spot on the path. Much less distance to carry all our kit ! The area nearest the stage is reserved for people who want to sit on rugs. Further back is the space for people with chairs and there were two covered areas with folding chairs provided. We set up our own chairs and started our picnic, sharing around salad, cherries, biscuits, chicken, olives etc. Vikki got permission to come and join us for the picnic only. She couldn't stay for the play, as she was singing somewhere later with her choir. There was a stall selling locally-made ice-cream, and a standing selling tea, coffees and hot chocolate. I didn't get any ice-cream, as I'd brought some of my own, which was still mostly solid when I came to eat it.

The play was delightful. The show started with the cast performing some music hall songs, playing the washboard, broom bass, ukelele and pan. They looked to be enjoying themselves. For the Rotten Row riding scene, four of them 'galloped' around the stage, like Monty Python's knights (though without coconuts)  bowing to one another and making polite conversational exclamations. It was a great way of acting a crowd scene with only four people.

All in all, it was a lovely day out. I wonder what they'll pu on next year ?



( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
29th Jun, 2010 17:25 (UTC)
Sounds lovely! :-)
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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