Fred And Mary – January 2014

Experience: 8/10

Adapted by Geoffrey Beevers from the novel by George Eliot

Directed by Geoffrey Beevers

Venue: Orange Tree Theatre

Date: Wednesday 8th January 2014

Seasoned veterans now, we took our seats for this third part of The Middlemarch Trilogy with keen anticipation. Many in the audience were familiar to us now, as were most of the characters, though there were some new folk to get to know as well, both on stage and off. The set looked very familiar too; the yew boles were back in the left corner and there were apples in the leafy branches above. A climbing rose adorned the far corner instead of the bookcase and the furniture was set up for the Vincy’s drawing room. The props under the stools had changed, of course, and I thought I spotted a wig under one near us. We were by the far corner today, so we had another change of perspective but were still close to the action.

The play began with much the same narrated introduction as the other two – hopefully the text will be published some time – telling us about the changes that were happening around that time, the railways and so forth. Then we were in to the breakfast scene where Fred Vincy and his sister Rosamund bickered for a while before going to visit their uncle Mr Featherstone, an invalid who was expected to die soon and leave his estate to Fred. There were other relatives who were lurking in the wings, keen to see the old man’s money and lands come their way, but things didn’t work out as anyone had intended or hoped.

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Barnum – July 2013

Experience: 8/10

Music by Cy Coleman, lyrics by Michael Stewart, book by Mark Bramble

With revisions by Cameron Mackintosh and Mark Bramble

Directed by Timothy Sheader

Chichester Festival Theatre in association with Cameron Mackintosh

Venue: Theatre In The Park

Date: Monday 29th July 2013

When we left this performance we were as one with our rating of the experience, but not for the usual reasons. Tonight things had gone wrong, and our enjoyment had been vastly improved as a result. Not the usual effect, but then this is theatre.

To begin with, this was our first visit to the Theatre In The Park, Chichester Festival Theatre’s temporary home while the main building, itself a ‘temporary’ venue, is given a large dose of TLC. The old dear doesn’t look well at the moment with the lettering removed and the boards up, but I’m sure she’ll be back in action next year as promised, and in much better shape.

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