Hay Fever and The Two Gentlemen of Verona in Central Park – Review by Kelly Goldsworthy
So this week we Dartfordians were treated to not one, but two performances from The Changeling Theatre Company. Despite being a lover of the theatre I had not seen either Hay Fever, written in 1924 by Noel Coward, or William Shakespeare’ s The Two Gentlemen of Verona so was unsure what to expect.
Hay Fever is a cross between high farce and a comedy of manners. The actors were able to bring the eccentric and outlandish characters to life. It was clear from audience reactions that the comedy was well delivered and appreciated.
In my experience all Shakespeare rests on the production values exercised and the skill of the cast. The difficulty with the language can often serve as a barrier for the audience. I think it is a clear testament to the Changeling Theatre Company’s skill that the audience – consisting of people of all ages, including children were mesmerised throughout. The energy of the performance, exenterated by music and some dancing is simply brilliant.
Both plays use the same cast. Often you only realise how good or bad an actor is when you see them in more than role. It was simply a delight to see the versatility of this theatre company. At times it was hard to believe we were watching the same people as two days before.
Both plays were performed in the new open air theatre in Central Park. The stage has been designed as simply as possible with wild flowers around the edges. I found it beautiful, reminding me of Regents Park Theatre. In my opinion there is something about being outdoors that adds to the whole theatre experience and I see this as a wonderful asset to our town. I also fail to see how Dartford cannot develop a reputation as a town for culture with it now being able to boast of three theatre venues! I’d suggest having strawberries, Pimms and hot chocolate on sale would make it even better.
I’m looking forward to next years performances already.