WHETHER you are an besotted with the Bard or like to take in a smidgen of Shakespeare every now and then, you will struggle to see a better group than MadCap Theatre Productions perform his plays.
Almost 100 people descended on Droitwich’s St Andrews Church garden for their latest offering – As You Like It.
And, as with the company’s previous productions, it was full of comedy, music, dance, stage combat and more, providing a perfect evening’s entertainment.
With a versatile eight-strong cast playing multiple roles it was a delight from start to finish.
Claire Seller was rousing as Rosalind and the chemistry between her and Beth Johnston, as Celia, added excitement and fun to an entertaining evening.
The audience took Orlando, played by Robert Moore, to their hearts, you could feel everyone willing him to ‘get the girl’.
And humour was provided in abundance, especially from Oisin Porter as Touchstone and Matilda Bott as Le Beau, Phoebe and Audrey.
The company’s addition of accents to these roles added extra charisma and comedy to the characters. This was particularly apparent when Le Beau referees the wrestling match and in the scene which opened the second act where lovable rogue Touchstone promises Audrey marriage.
Add to that hand-clapping and foot-tapping music, performed on strings, recorder and a percussive wooden box, the choreographed wrestling scene and sparsely used and well-placed sprinklings of interaction with the audience and this show really did have everything.
Special mention also has to go to director Emma Leigh who, as well as putting together this extravaganza, also stepped in to fill three roles herself – the pick of these being lovestruck Silvius.
The set was minimal but effective. It did everything it needed to and placed the spotlight on where it should be – these incredible performers.
It also meant the audience was able to take in more of the quintessential English backdrop – the historic church and the foliage which surrounded it. There is certainly something more thaeatrically romantic about seeing Shakespeare’s plays outdoors, almost to the point you feel that is how they should be performed.
You would think the intermittent rain showers at the start would have led to some grumblings but, on the contrary, it simply added to the fun and the experience.
There were some great lines added in by the company as the play approached its feelgood finale and with more foot-tapping clap-along music to bring down the curtain.
This performance was entitled As You Like It but the performance was more As This Crowd Loved It.
For those who missed it, the Bromsgrove-based group has its ‘home-coming’ show at Artrix next Friday and it will be well worth a watch.
Tickets are £13 (£11 for over 60s, students and under 16s). Visit www.artrix.co.uk or call 01527 577330 to book or for more information.
Go to www.madcaptheatreproductions.co.uk for more on the group.