Performances with blood-thirsty battles, confused lovers and a sombre tragedy marked a Shakespearean evening full of laughter and confusion at the Contact Theatre on Friday night.
The Royal Shakespeare Company’s Open Stages programme came to Manchester as three North West theatre companies took to the stage to perform King Henry IV Part I, The Pocket Dream and Richard III.
Up first was The King’s Troupe who performed a short act from King Henry IV Part I.
Far from the bard’s historic based original, this interpretation took a comedic twist whether the director intended to or not.
The largest cast of the evening was largely dominated by children who along with their Crocs brought laughter to the boards.
With the more seasoned performers forgetting their lines on several occasions the show was saved by unscripted humour and haphazard timing of the young thespians.
Needless to say the battle scenes were pure mayhem but young Mistress Extra Quickly stole the show even if she ran off stage to sit with the bemused audience more than once.
This act was summed up best by the final line of the show ‘this is the strangest tale I’ve ever heard!’
Riverside Drama Company introduced the magical story of A Midsummer’s night Dream to Manchester.
This condensed version of the original was interpreted as The Pocket Dream featuring just five performers playing 12 characters.
This flawless performance was based on the plot that all the cast members bar one failed to turn up, opting for the pub rather than the stage, so the flustered stage manager had to cobble together a cast as best she could.
The scripted technical hiccup was a great way to grab the spectators’ attention and set the scene for what was a laugh out loud performance.
Even though this adaptation lost the magical and mysterious touch that the bard adorned to the original, it was full of fun, bravado and romance.
Next in line was Richard III brought to the stage by Bingo Dragon Theatre Company starring 5 young artisans.
A dramatic post-murder opening scene set this act off with a bang with the character of Queen Anne delivering an emotionally charged performance.
Donning a suit Richard was played by Iain Black who gave the audience a gripping portrayal of the evil and psychopathic King.
This thought-provoking modern adaptation was the most serious show of the night but ended the night on a high with an unexpected rendition of ‘I Love you Baby’.
All three amateur theatre companies delivered exciting glimpses into Shakespearean art proving to be a fine contribution to the World Shakespeare Festival 2012.