"After a busy day in the office you don’t always fancy going out – or is that just me? But last night I was so glad I headed (with some friends) to Lancaster for the Duke’s walkabout production of Merlin in Williamson Park. The threat of rain having passed and with clear, stunning views over Morecambe Bay we embarked on a mini adventure around this enchanting park.
As for the performance itself, it was studded with gems of laugh-out-loud humour, sprinkled with magic and full of cheeky asides that brought the audience right in on the act. For me it is this audience participation that makes these events – so often we’re ten rows back, behind a person with tall hair or destined to find the most uncomfortable spot in the theatre. Here, you find yourself shoulder to shoulder with Merlin, snugly-cosy with a fusty barrow woman (she was my favourite), shaking hands with Lancelot or, in one little girl’s case, embroiled in a strange love-fest brought on by a bewitched silk scarf!
I don’t want to spoil it for you, but these moments have all made me smile again today and they’re just a very small part of another unforgettable night in the talented company of those clever folk at the Dukes."
"I particularly enjoyed how the audience were part of the story, seeing the audience’s (especially the children’s) reaction to a funny or dramatic moment whilst they enjoyed time with the family over a picnic. The beautiful surroundings of the park make the story come alive and taking in the stunning view over to Morecambe Bay at sunset during the interval adds to the overall experience – perfect!"
"My favourite part of the play was hosted in the dell. With the light faded the quick dialogue, and clever twists of the love matches between the character reminded me of a Shakespearean farce. With a fight, a kiss (or two), some music, comedy, treachery and jealousy the act had it all; including a 7 foot green giant! It was with some excitement as well as a little reluctantly that we moved on to the final scene, as I knew that the story was about to reach its conclusion."
"It’s difficult to pin down my favourite bits but I’d pick the comedic Barrow Woman, the indiscriminate snogging (amongst the cast) and the transformation of Guinevere from hag to beautiful queen. Dramatic, funny and enchanting – what more could you want?
And I loved it when it started going dark. The stage areas were lit by real flame torches and giant leaf lanterns swayed in the tree tops. The grand finale at the lake was also pretty spectacular – but I don’t want to give the ending away so you’ll have to see it for yourselves!"