|Felix Hayes as Dromio of Ephesus and Bruce Mackinnon as Dromio of Syracuse in The Comedy of Errors. Photograph by Keith Pattison |
We were taken regularly from school to see Shakespeare plays in Stratford upon Avon and during my teens I saw a lot of plays at the Birmingham Rep and Stoke’s Victoria Theatre, most of which I have forgotten, but including Pinter, Orton, Synge, Ibsen and Goldsmith which are just a random selection that come to mind. I revelled in all things theatrical when our children were members of the remarkable Thame Youth Theatre, serving on the committee and helping out with productions and watching one or two individuals hone their juvenile talent and go on to creative careers. Once the girls were old enough not to need babysitters we were able to get to theatre regularly again and as friends of Oxford Playhouse enjoyed half price seats for first nights, which made us much more assiduous at getting tickets booked in advance.
We are lucky in Bristol to live within easy reach of Bristol Old Vic and the Tobacco Factory Theatre and have seen great shows at both of them. We don’t go nearly as often as I would like – partly because I’m rubbish at forward planning. I’m slightly surprised that I haven’t done more blog posts about theatre, but I’m not really a reviewer or theatre critic; I tend to suck things up and enjoy them and move on to the next thing.
So it won’t be a surprise to learn that I’m simply loving the opportunity to see plays at the RSC and spend time in Stratford with Hannah and Felix, where our lovely son-in-law F has a second season appearing in What Country Friends Is This? Shakespeare’s trilogy of Shipwreck Plays. So far we have seen and loved Twelfth Night and The Tempest and have Comedy of Errors booked for August. In the normal scheme of things Stratford is just a little bit too far away to go to an evening show and drive back the same night – falling asleep at the wheel is never a good plan. So staying overnight at their temporary home opposite the theatre is just great. I know that living in a cute cottage opposite the RSC in historic Stratford upon Avon can feel like being part of a living heritage museum (especially last weekend during Shakespeare’s birthday celebrations), but it’s also a huge privilege and quite brilliant for us as visitors. I noticed that later in the year the RSC are staging an Indian-based version of Much Ado About Nothing, which appeals to me very much – may have to ask if we can have bed and breakfast again for that!