A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Regents Park open air theatre

I better warn you first, taking my knowledge of English literature and theatre into account I am totally unqualified to review any plays whatsoever. This is therefore just an account of my evening at the Regents park open air theatre rather than a review of the play.

As sod’s law would have its been pouring down this August, apparently we are well over the average this month, but thankfully come the day of the play, the skies started to clear up and I am glad to say that it was perfect weather. Slightly, very slightly chilly.

With over an hour to spare we walked from Marylebone Road through the ever so grand golden gates which impressed me a great deal. The park was teeming with life, toddlers running around, slightly older ones kicking football, tourists with their cameras, retired people sitting there nattering. The best one of all was a group of middle eastern ladies about 30 of them who had congregated near the rose gardens and dragged the benches (which were laid out in a row by the park authorities) to form a nice circle for them to sit down and gossip in. We didn’t get to see if the park authorities turned up to tell them off. But it was certainly nice to see so many people enjoying the beautiful summers day.

My first impression as we walked through the theatre entrance was that it looked magical, all those fairy lights made it look very pretty. The picnic area and the bar which serves barbeque buffet and drinks were nicely crowded by the time we got there, thankfully we had our own bounteous homemade picnic consisting of salads, sandwiches, pasta , fresh fruits and trifle.

We were then ushered to our seats, having never been there before I was not sure what to expect but was pleased to note that they had proper chairs. We had almost the best seats in house, right in the middle on the third row. What more can a person ask for. Thinking about it now, we couldn’t have watched a better play in the open air theatre, with all the tall trees surrounding the stage it looked like a clearing in a forest the pefect setting for the said play. I was so pleased that I was able to follow the play without too much difficulty, either I remember things that I read as an 8 year old better than I care to admit or the script was easy enough for me to follow. Either way it got a lot of laughs from us, especially the craftsmen including Mr.Bottom and the 4 young lovers were hilarious. At one point when Helena was dragged along and thrown into one of the bushes, the person sitting next to me literally gasped wondering if it is for real. I am sure Helena must have hurt that day. And I am still not quite sure what to make of the bald headed fairies though, very odd.

Presume the air ambulance centre is near the theatre somewhere as that was the only disturbance we had all through the performance, I was pretty much amazed that we didn’t hear anything else apart from the birds despite being in a bustling park.

In case you are lady who was seated behind me and was taking photographs repeatedly despite being asked not to, I do wish they’d thrown you out instead. Apart from that my only other gripe would be maybe the show could start half an earlier to make travel slightly easy for people who live in the home counties.

I enjoyed the performance so much that I am seriously considering joining the friends of the open air theatre. If only getting home after the show was easier though.

5 Comments so far

  1. F e r r a r i (unregistered) on August 22nd, 2006 @ 4:01 pm

    Nice report. Looks like you had a very pleasant evening. Do share some photographs, even though you werent a tourist, if you can ;)

  2. Eileen (unregistered) on August 22nd, 2006 @ 4:34 pm

    Going to the Open Air Theatre is my favourite summer activity in London, although I try to ensure I go on a warm, dry evening. I’ve been pretty lucky so far, managing to go twice on the hottest day of the year.

  3. WA (unregistered) on August 24th, 2006 @ 5:54 pm

    Ferrari, the only person who might be able to supply us with photographs of that evening’s play is probably the lady who was sitting behind me annoyed everyone by taking photographs constantly :(

    Eileen – Nice. But looking at the weather right now, I wonder how one could ensure nice weather though. Would love to hear more on the plays you’ve been to at the open air theatre and what would you recommend?

  4. Eileen (unregistered) on August 25th, 2006 @ 10:13 am

    Usually I’d recommend just buying tickets on the day. You’re not always guaranteed to get good seats, but you can guarantee the weather. I pre-ordered tickets this year, but it was the middle of the heatwave, so I was fairly confident in good weather.

    I’ve been to see A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2003 version), Camelot and the Boyfriend. I think Midsummer is an excellent choice, if only because the setting is perfect. Camelot was ok, but not quite what I expected. I really enjoyed the The Boyfriend though. I had low expectations going to see it, so I was pleasantly surprised.

  5. WA (unregistered) on August 25th, 2006 @ 11:00 am

    Thanks Eileen, will check out the dates for the next performance of The Boyfriend.

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