The opening show, Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, was presented by a clever mix of RSC staff amateur actors, Shakespeare Institute students and current RSC actors, and directed by James Corrigan – with just one daring week of rehearsals.
A cheerful, large audience came together, picnic blankets, matching hampers, raincoats, brollies, kids, dogs and all.
The play was everywhere, in the midst of the audience, under and on trees, vibrating all around. What joy, dynamic, what a sparkling display of fun ideas. Brilliant work by amateurs and pros alike.
Particularly thrilling: Lucy Phelps as Beatrice and Rhys Bevan as Benedick, perfect chemistry and glorious banter.
A female Leonato, Samantha Powell, harvested extra cheers when well-known male lines tipped into hilariousness: “I think this is your daughter?” “Her father hath many times told me so.”
Also utterly believable in a female version: Don John, the evil brother, played by Grace Martin.
With prescience set up under a well leafy roof, a live band accompanied the show, inciting little jigs here and there.
Well done, everybody.
The Dell season: