A Midsummer Night’s Dream – at Kentwell Hall, Suffolk

Kentwell Hall MND

Sunday afternoon saw me en route to Kentwell Hall, the delightful Tudor house nestling to the north of Long Melford in Suffolk.  The house and gardens, very much a home and not just a ‘Stately Home’ have been a favourite diversion of mine during the course of walks in the area for some time.

My purpose in visiting this time was not The Maze, the Ancient Yews, or the restored Icehouse but to see an open air production of my favourite Shakespeare play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, by the GB Theatre Company.

Kentwell has now a tradition of staging open air plays, mainly Shakespeare and Gilbert & Sullivan operettas, using the wonderful house and gardens as both backdrop and “Exit: Stage Right (& Left!)”

Though the forecast had threatened showers, the day held fair; much to the relief of the audience seated around the simple ground-roped auditorium and the Players too!

The usual device of Theseus and Hippolyta playing both themselves and the Faerie King & Queen, Oberon and Titania worked well, thanks to the excellent Jonathan Mulquin and Rosalind Steele.  Doug McRobbie made an excellent Puck, his Scots accent lending an air of quite believable mischief to the part.

My favourites as always were the ‘Rude Mechanicals’ particularly Derek Howard, whose hammy Bottom (hmm that doesn’t sound quite polite does it?) stole the show, and Anil Kumar as both Flute and a reluctant Thisbe, a performance worthy of any great Panto Dame.

Puck’s errors and the ensuing rifts between lovers made for great comedy theatre and the final performance of the Mechanicals in the tragi-comic sub-play Pyramus and Thisbe was hilarious.

All in all a wonderful performance in superb surroundings and the magic of the play was perhaps best reflected in the faces of the many children there.  Clearly captivated by, what was for many of them, their first play it bodes well for the future, which many, I think wrongly, see as children’s imaginations being dominated by computer games.

Lord, what Fools these Mortals be!

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All My Own Words?

You can’t be faint hearted and wear your heart on your sleeve
So come what may, though I may have seen better days
Knowing in my heart of hearts that love is blind
I shall not fear the green eyed monster, for goodness’ sake
For the world is my oyster, a brave new world
Not a Fool’s Paradise, but a foregone conclusion
The long and the short of it, though I may have passed
My salad days, and it’s no more cakes & ale for me
What’s done is done, fair play, I have my hearts content
A dish fit for the gods, for ever and a day
As merry as the day is long, pure as the driven snow
With heart of gold, so no more wild goose chase for me
I’ll not sleep one wink, with bated breath, and fancy free
Even at the turning of the tide, the truth will out,
A sea change will lead us to our primrose path,
Under the greenwood tree, to sleep, perchance to dream
Such stuff as dreams are made on, as good luck would have it
Dear girl, the game is up!  A rose by any other name would smell as sweet
In case you get up in arms, I’m not responsible for the Italics here.  Though they may make your hair stand on end,( a sorry sight), don’t be in a pickle, or vanish into thin air, my night owl.  They’re Shakespeare’s fault!
They might be too much of a good thing, but the naked truth is I thought as a piece of work they’d break the ice, but what’s done is done, woe is me, the course of true love never did run smooth……………………………