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Red Rose Chain - Theatre in the Forest

By Liz, also posted in News on

The Taming of The Shrew

Adnams has been supporting Theatre in the Forest - the annual outdoor Shakespeare production by Red Rose Chain - for the last 5 years and every year the company adds something different. This year it was a very big change as they moved the stage to an exciting new venue, Jimmy's Farm in Wherstead, just outside Ipswich. What remains the same is Joanna Carrick's talented and playful yet text-faithful interpretation of Shakespeare. Having been to the last four productions this was definitely the best yet. The new venue added a relaxed charm with bunting and lanterns making it less foreboding than Rendlesham Forest and with a fantastic bar (with Adnams, of course!) and the chance for pre-dinner dining in Jimmy's stunning restaurant it has become a destination for a great summer night out. The set as always was simple and rustic making full use of the mature trees with the props and puppets by super-talented Jimmy Grimes (now working on Warhorse) stealing the show.  The now trademark unusual vehicle was perfect for the Italian setting and had the audience roaring with laughter. There were moments of high camp - particularly from Laurence Peers as Hortensio with tongues firmly in cheeks - and some other cheeks on display too from a brave Scott Ellis as Pertruchio. This is a very talented cast with incredible energy, and with no back-stage areas to hide there are some speedy and comical costume changes in the trees. The play itself is really a domestic comedy and unlike some other Shakespeare plays has a straightforward and accessible plot. The Shrew in question is Kate who must be married and the scenes where the new husband and wife argue really capture the niggles and nags of married life. However, there is a shadow of this control tipping over which echoes some of Red Rose Chain's serious works of community theatre. It's a performance that leaves a smile on your face and gets your toe tapping from start to finish. Tickets are available for shows until 25th August.