Review from the Arundel Festival

Great shows at the Castle

The Taming of the Shrew, Collector Earl’s Garden, Arundel Castle

The GB Theatre Company certainly demonstrated how well they deserve the ‘Great’ in their title when they brought Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew to Arundel as one of the key elements of Arundel Festival.

The Collector Earl’s Garden at the castle formed the perfect historic backdrop for an absolutely faultless and gripping performance, the company having decided to treat one of the Bard’s favourite comedies in traditional style.

The production flowed effortlessly, superbly acted throughout and with the humorous elements delivered with immaculate timing for maximum effect. And while the superb open-air setting added to the atmosphere, keeping the audience enthralled from start to finish, the voices were crystal clear and not a word was lost.

It’s difficult to pick out any individual performances among a cast where everyone played their part to perfection, but company manager David Davies was a superb Petuchio, as was Lucia McAnespie as Katherine, an absolute delight as the Shrew.

Equally impressive were Tom Kay as Hortensio and Peter Dineen as the hilarious Christopher Sly, while Daniel Dingsdale displayed splendid comic timing.

Well done, GB Theatre Company for bringing Shakespeare to life for a very appreciative audience. It was good to see so many youngsters there, all realising how great a playwright the Bard was and how his work remains as enjoyable as ever.

Jo Rothery

Syd Lawrence Orchestra, Collector Earl’s Garden, Arundel Castle

The sound of the Syd Lawrence Orchestra filled every corner of the Collector Earl’s Garden on a summer’s evening this week, booming out wave after wave of nostalgia.

It opened in style with the compulsive beat of St Louis Blues, but it took two or three numbers before both band and audience were really in the swing of things.

And while there was plenty of sound musicianship on show, it was the classic Glenn Miller hits such as American Patrol, Pennsylvania 65000 and Chattanooga Choo Choo which really made an impact, rather than some of the less-familiar numbers.

But for most of the listeners, it was a compelling and welcome trip back in time to the glory days of the big band.

Jo Rothery