Last night, I had the pleasure of attending a production of Twelfth Night by Theatre Space North East, a group who have put on a number of performances in a variety of venues over the years. Last night’s was the last performance of the season, in Barnes Park, Sunderland, which has also included Hamlet, which my friend and fellow scribe Elaine Cusack recently reviewed. Having attended that performance, she invited me along last night, and I am very glad that she did.
I’ll admit to being a bit unsure – I’m not great with street performers, or any kind of audience participation – but happily (for me) there was no need to be worried. The actors took us through the park, each scene moving us swiftly and smoothly through the various wooded and green spaces, and even a (very well-utilised) set of steps, completely immersing us in the characters’ world.
According to Elaine, and confirmed at the end of the production, last night’s audience was the biggest of the season, which can only be good news, and hopefully a signal of more such events to come. The happy group of followers included all ages, and all seemed to be equally enjoying the event.
As a fan of Shakespeare’s language, if not all his plays, I enjoyed hearing the odd snippet of speech, recognised from that most random (and brilliant) of interpretations, Return to the Forbidden Planet, and even some lines I hadn’t realised were Shakespearean at all.
In conclusion, I cannot wait to see what their next production is. If the level of cheering is anything to go by, I definitely won’t be alone.