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“There was a star danced…” – Much Ado wows the Garden Theatre at Calderstones

Written by Lisa Spurgin, 17th June 2014
The stage for Much Ado at the Garden Theatre (credit: @willowsh on Twitter)

The stage for Much Ado at the Garden Theatre (credit: @willowsh on Twitter)

“For man is a giddy thing, and this is my conclusion.”

We certainly had a most giddy time at the end of last week as we welcomed The Globe on Tour back to Calderstones Mansion House for their touring production of Much Ado About Nothing. Bard buffs, literary lovers and those who fancied a detour from football fever entered the Garden Theatre to enjoy one of Shakespeare's liveliest and most well-loved comedies.

It was lucky enough that the sun shone down - with just a few showers here and there - providing us with the perfect backdrop to proceedings out of doors on a wonderfully authentic Shakespearean stage, and the glorious sounds of many a musical instrument rang out around the Garden Theatre as the merry band of players brought us the story of Much Ado over five performances on three days.

The eight strong cast entertained the crowds with aplomb, with Simon Bubb and Emma Pallant putting in stellar performances as the warring would-be lovers Benedick and Beatrice, and local connections coming from Sam Phillips, who played Claudio. Fittingly for a play that is full of fooling and people taking the place of others, the cast switched between characters throughout - perhaps the most inspired change of roles came from Chris Starkie, who played both the dastardly villain Don John and the perennially confused Dogberry.

Enjoying the show and a fair few ice-creams in the sunshine, our audience were keen enough to let us know what they thought on Twitter:

Had a brilliant night watching 's 's beautiful outdoor theatre at . Magical!

Fab afternoon watching Much Ado!!! 🙂 what an amazingly talented cast!!! 🙂 Bravo!!! 🙂

Basking in the afterglow of a tremendous Much Ado from and (s)

Much Ado in full swing at the Garden Theatre at Calderstones (credit: @shell_here on Twitter)

Much Ado in full swing at the Garden Theatre at Calderstones (credit: @shell_here on Twitter)

There were also fabulous 4* reviews from Catherine Jones of the Liverpool Echo, who called the production 'quirky and charming', as well as David Sedgwick from The Public Reviews:

"It’s certainly no mean feat to have the audience in stitches after a mere four centuries have passed. Having said that to extract that comedy requires a level of performance and direction of the utmost deftness. The laughs are all hard-earned. [...] This Much Ado then is nothing if not accessible. Yet the play still ripples with profundity, still revels in linguistic musicality and still dazzles with intellectual dexterity."

It's been another amazing Shakespearean experience in the Garden Theatre, and we hope that everyone at Osbourne House in the Isle of Wight will have as much fun when the show rolls up there later this week as we did at Calderstones.

There's no stopping at the Mansion House as our summer programme of events is now online for you to take a look at. From concerts to heritage walks around Calderstones Park, a host of Summer School Sizzlers and our very first Children's Literature Festival in The Secret Garden of Stories this August, there's something for everyone to enjoy - and we hope that the weather holds up, but regardless there's lots of fun in store.

For more information of all of our events at Calderstones this summer, head to our Events calendar: http://www.thereader.org.uk/events

 

 

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