As they say, if at first you don’t succeed, try try and try again. Not only does this mantra apply to Milly’s efforts to marry off her brother in laws in Seven Brides For Seven Brothers, but also to my attempts at besting the weather to enjoy this outdoor show.
I adore the Regents Park Open Air Theatre. Adore adore. It is both beautiful and adds a level of intimacy and immediacy that indoor theatre doesn’t quite muster. It is adorned with fairy lights, picnics are totally encouraged and the whole stage is surrounded by trees!
That stage…So before I get to the part where I tell you how much I loved Seven Brides For Seven Brothers, and believe me I did love it, I need to talk to you about how incredible the stage and set design can be at this venue. I have been to many shows here that have brought to life many worlds before my eyes, so when I was invited to tour the stage with a group of lovely theatre bloggers, I was in AWE!
Peter McKintosh is a Open Air regular and it is easy to see why; his set design for Seven Brides captured both the essence of the space and the vibe of the show itself. It was incredible to walk among his work, especially to see the peep hole into the musicians world – a cleverly designed cubby hole peaking through the trees.
We were allowed to explore the set before the show, which made seeing it in action during the performance even more interesting. If you thought that outdoor theatre would be more basic than that of an indoor space, you would be wrong. This baby moves!
After much anticipation (two rain offs) the show itself did not let down. Rachel Kavanaugh and Alistair David have created a vibrant yet strangely quaint piece of theatre that raises the metaphorical roof of the Open Air. (Yes, an actual roof would also be quite nice for rainy days, but this would somewhat ruin the magic of being exposed to the elements and the smell of fresh air.)
Laura Pitt-Pulford and Alex Gaumond definitely had the chemistry to pull off playing the overworked and fed up Milly and the rouge like chauvinist, Adam. Together they led the show with energy and zeal which was similarly mirrored in the rest of the cast.
Seven Brides has something of a Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs vibe and it is a joy to watch Milly try to tame Adam’s brothers; wonderfully portrayed by James Leece, Sam O’Rouke, Ed White, Leon Cooke, Bob Harms and Adam Rhys-Charles. These guys performed a theatrically delightful transformation from hungry apes to handsome (if I do say so!) gentlemen.
The show is brought to life by Alistair David’s colourful and expertly performed choreography which had the audience stomping and clapping as if they were part of a glorious hoedown.
Yes, the build up was tense, but I had SUCH fun seeing this show. I curse the unfortunate run of bad weather in the past few weeks, but would still urge everyone and anyone to get to the Regents Park Open Air Theatre. If you can’t catch this show (finishing August 29th) then do book to see Lord of the Flies, which won’t be quite as jolly but will be every bit as tantalising.
Yes this is me on the set pretending I am some kind of bar wench. I regret nothing.