The sequence when a team of inane watchmen ineptly uncover the treacherous plot to discredit Hero is direly unfunny in most productions, but in this one it's somehow hilarious - big credit to David Fynn's Dogberry and his Watch. Here they are (above), and here too are Benedict (John Hefferman) whose friends tricked him into wooing and Claudio (Eben Figueiredo) whose boss did his wooing for him, though both got their girls in the end. A great interpretation of a play that's mainly about gossip, well presented and performed. (Press image credits Manuel-Harlan)
The set was a bit odd, though: a turd-like monolith neither palace nor forest, but probably easy for touring. The company will doubtless be exhausted by autumn - their tour schedule involves 73 locations - but they will have made a lot of people very happy. At Dyrham Park at least 200 of us gathered on the lawn with chairs, rugs, and picnics (in one instance with a folding table) and the multi-talented cast organised us seamlessly into best-viewing positions for all. It’s a great show - go if you can.Horningsham Independent Chapel, the oldest Free Church in England, build-date of 1556 and still in regular use for worship. This is within the 9,800 acre Longleat estate, famous for costly attractions - stately home, safari park - but free for walking around the lovely wooded environs where workers' cottage gardens look like flower-packet pictures and new-laid eggs from free range hens are £1.50 a dozen.The Guggleton in Stallbridge, the Arts Centre with a difference, a wonderfully supportive community venture to foster arts of all kinds, with the Open Mic nights regular well attended. The session on a sultry Thursday evening had some real highlights, one of which was talented duo The Davenports, aka Annie and Roger, with a moving version of that country classic Please Remember me, and a very lively finale from Alan, aka The Rhythm Junkie, with a Bob Marley mashup and mass Oasis singalong. Always a good night at The Gugg outdoor venue - with pizza and bar provided too.