Review: All’s Well That Ends Well at South Hill ParkBy Steph Davies
July 24, 2012
All’s Well That Ends Well,
South Hill Park, Bracknell
Sunday, July 22
We were all seated in the amphitheatre at South Hill Park on Sunday when suddenly a steward stepped forward and told us the play would not be going ahead as the cast ‘had had a better offer’.
As we looked around nervously, a member of the audience got up, ready to storm off. Then others got up, including a young lady who assured us ‘she knew the play and could take the part of Helena’.
Other ‘audience members’ soon joined her on the stage, and what followed was, without doubt, the most hilarious staging of a Shakespeare comedy I have ever seen.
All’s Well That Ends Well then acquired the subtitle ‘A balls up in Berkshire’, consisting of inspired additions to the dialogue by Bart Lee and David Wembridge.
The young lady who had stepped up was Kitty Plume, and she was utterly enchanting as the lovelorn Helena, who is determined to get her man.
The man in question, the reluctant Bertram, was superbly played by Johnny Hunt, while Penny Parker delighted as the Countess, and Nathanial Evans kept us laughing as the King of France.
Arthur Wright made a great job of the role of the cowardly Parolles and Peter Short was an excellent Lafew.
This was the 10th anniversary of Shakespeare in the Park and it was an absolute joy. Evening performances carried on under umbrellas but on Sunday afternoon we watched the play in glorious sunshine.
Shakespeare purists might have blanched at such liberties being taken with the play, but the rest of us just sat back and enjoyed the fun.
It worked superbly well, it was wonderfully entertaining and, as one of the characters said, Shakespeare would have loved it. I’m sure he’s right – we certainly did.