How do people who don’t live in England plan what to pack when they come here on holiday? Seriously, it is impossible to predict the weather here! When mum and I booked our tickets to see an open air theatre production a few weeks ago, we were optimistic. When it got to the beginning of the week just gone, we couldn’t believe our luck that we’d have such beautiful weather for Friday evening. When it got to Friday, you just had to laugh. Rain, rain everywhere!
The good news is, the rain didn’t ruin the performance at all. Chapter House’s production of Pride and Prejudice was funny and cleverly made use of one stage and the grounds. I think the setting played a massive part to all that. For those of you that haven’t been to Lacock and its Abbey, it’s one of the prettiest places I’ve seen, and quite apt as the village itself has been used in TV adaptations of Jane Austen’s work. The Abbey itself was partly used for scenes of the Great Hall in Harry Potter, too. It was this that made me keen to try the open air theatre for the first time – the setting is so key to the evening.
I have to admit that I’m not the biggest fan of Austen. I’ve studied her work a bit at uni, and I literally hear her name every day as I work down the road from the Jane Austen museum in Bath. Quite often, I’ll come back from my lunch break and find a group of tourists blocking my path to the office as they stare over at the flat that she used to live in. If I did have to pick a favourite of her novels, Pride & Prejudice would probably be the one I’d choose. Am I swayed by Colin Firth being Mr Darcy? Yes, yes I am. Did he magically appear in this play? No, no he did not.
I thought it was clever how each actor played two or three different roles throughout the play. The characters of Lydia Bennett/Miss Bingley were played especially well by one actress, and Mr Collins had me laughing out loud with his ridiculous mannerisms. They also created their own music with singing and flute-playing. Hats off to all of them for not being phased by the rain or by the really low flying plane that flew over the Abbey. They definitely handled it better than me and Bev did!
I would definitely go to something like this again, hopefully with better weather next time! Above all else, I loved the way that it reminded me of a simpler time – nothing too fancy or technical, but just good acting and a beautiful setting.
Chapter House are performing throughout the UK over the whole summer, so I’d definitely recommend going to see them if you get a chance!