Sunday, 20 January 2008

Where there's a Will....

Bill the Bard does it again. The Shakespeare novice relished yesterday's performance of Henry V at Stratford-upon-Avon.

Michael Boyd's vibrant production of Shakespeare's best-known history play hits all the right notes, with a tip-top performance by Geoffrey Streatfield in the title role.

Boyd's actors make the most of every square inch of the temporary Courtyard Theatre with thrilling use of ladders, ropes and trapezes (at whiich the foppish French excel).

And, best of all, the cast speak with clarity and confidence. Not always a given these days.

Mr Gnome concurs with almost every word of Charles Spencer's excellent review. (Mr G, unlike Mr Spencer, loved the trapeze aspect.)

And while I'm here....

The seats in the back row of the Courtyard's gallery are not separated by arm rests and are designed to accommodate the slenderest of slim-hipped persons. They are also raised from the floor in the manner of bar stools, with built-in foot rests.
The HB's seat neighbours yesterday were the Novice (slim) and an overseas visitor (not at all slim, but no Pavarotti, either). The HB is an average-sized person.

The problem? Overspill. The large gentleman, seated before the arrival fo the HB and the Novice, had colonised a considerable proportion of the HB's seat, obliging the HB to spend the first half of the show perched on one buttock.

Mono-cheek stress, he finds, is not conducive to Bard-appreciation.

The interval brought an opportunity to move to better seats. For this relief, much thanks.

The HB will be writing to the architects of the new RST, urging them to address some fundamental issues before it's too late.


brett jordan said...

The Novice concurs with all of the above, thank you for a very enjoyable and enriching time.

Mr Gnome said...



Hope one made it clear that 'overspill' issues were in no way related to the presence of the Novice, a paragon of physical perfection.

Webrarian said...

Oh good. Having just spent out some hard-earned cash to take my super-enthusiastic youngest daughter to an entire weekend of Henry IV 1 & 2 and Henry V, I'm delighted to hear it's good.

Being of a more ample frame myself, I remember those seats your refer to rather well from when we did Richard III & Co over the weekend last year. This time we're in the row in front.

Mr Gnome said...


I hope you enjoy.

I usually book for previews - better seats at low prices. And a slight sense of danger as well.