Feasts, Circus Acts And Epic Music: Shakespeare At It’s Best

unnamed (35)You may have heard of Shakespeare in the Park, but I promise you – you’ve never seen it like this.

Last year, Shamaine and I were invited to come to Savill Park, a beautiful ornamental garden right outside of London, to see Watch Your Head’s Midsummer’s Night Dream. But they didn’t just perform this classic, they threw audiences in the middle of it.

Watch Your Head do immersive productions, which is a hot trend in London and around the world and one I’ve seen a lot of in the last few years, but I’ve never seen a play done like this. Every scene took place in a different portion of the park. You were escorted by the characters to beautiful hidden grottos, pond-side sitting areas and enormous flower displays to see what happens next. It was beautiful.

To paraphrase this most recent show, for Watch Your Head, the world is literally a stage.

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AS YOU LIKE IT

This year we were invited back again to watch another Shakespeare classic, As You Like It, and if anything, it was even better.

For those needing a little brush up on their Shakespeare, this is plot:

Forced into exile in the Forest of Arden, lovers Rosalind and Orlando become entangled in a beguiling game of love, lust and mistaken identity – The Royal Shakespeare Company.

Yep, that about sums it up.

unnamed (39)THE GARDEN

The Savill Garden is beautiful, from their arched visitor’s centre all the way through their lush maze like greenspace. The play began sitting out on their outdoor patio as we met the characters and set the scene before again, being escorted into the garden for music, mirth and merriment.

Don’t get comfortable. Every time a scene ends, you’re moved to a new area of the park, and the backdrop is breathtaking. The spots are chosen wisely, giving the actors room to play (you’ll find them hidden in trees or even sneaking through the crowd), while still providing enough room for everyone to hear and see.

The size of the audience was easily doubled since last year, which did make it a little hard to travel through some of the smaller bottlenecked areas and I was smacked in the face by a tree branch or two trying to get through the dense foliage. But once you arrived at the next spot, there was always plenty of room.

I also can’t state how funny this show actually is. The actors are at the top of their game and get laughter from a rather large audience with a glance or wave of their hands. It’s a crew well practiced at adding the comedy to this comedy.

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Take note: you’re outside for this entire run, so from time to time the actors would have to shout over things like the roaring airplanes overhead. Poor Shakespeare, he just couldn’t foresee airplane travel. (Well…) Plus, they go go rain or shine, and since it’s outdoors, make sure to come properly attired for the British summer.

MUSIC, MIRTH AND MERRIMENT

Adding on to the fun, this year they added both circus performers and live music (like the quick snipped I filmed above), creating a sensory spectacle to go along with the show. I’m not sure what impresses you, but walking into a garden clearing to see a woman 100 feet in the air, spinning on a rope while reciting Shakespeare pretty much does it for me.

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THE FEAST

In the final wedding scene (it is a comedy after all, so you know someone’s getting married), you sit at picnic tables and feast alongside the Duke. You have to order your food at least two days before but it’s a fantastic picnic spread of beef, salad, hummus and veggies, strawberries and cream and even edible confetti.

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When the cast took their bow, I was truly sad to be done with this magical experience. I loved last year’s performance, I loved this year’s, I can’t wait to see what they do next year. If you have the time and want to get out of London for some amazing theatre and beautiful garden air, I can’t recommend this enough.


THE GOOD: The whole experience. The beautiful garden. The incredible acting. The excellent food. The unique immersive experience.

THE BAD: It was more crowded than last year, which did create some bottlenecking moving from scene to scene. Also, it’s live theatre outside, so you’re going to deal with the elements and airplanes. None of these things should stop you from going though.

“All the world’s a stage
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts.”

– As You Like It, Act II, Scene 7

As You Like it is playing at the Savill Garden from now until July 24. Get your tickets here

 

46 Comments

  • Joanna

    This sounds like such a fab event to go to. The gardens look gorgeous and the food looks great too.

  • Claire

    What a pretty evening – and I’m absolutely fascinated by the edible confetti!

    • Alex

      It was basically cake toppings. But still fun to throw at the girlfriend. 🙂

      • Mina

        Wow, woreunfdl blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your website is great, let alone the content!

  • samantha rickelton

    I love watching Shakespeare plays but have never watched an outdoor performance – this one sounds fab though! I love that it’s immersive and you get to eat with the characters.

    • Alex

      Well, eat near them as the play finishes. 🙂 Your guests at the big marriage after all.

  • Life as Mum

    Sounds like a great event. I’m sure I would of enjoyed it!

  • Milly Youngman

    Shakespeare <3 and food! And pretty surroundings! This looks awesome!

    • Alex

      It was so awesome!

  • Ila Shebar

    Beautiful photos of what sounds like wonderful theater. Wish I could see it too.

  • fashionmommywm

    I love this sort of event, but just worry so much about the British weather!

    • Alex

      Ugh, you and me both. But we lucked out and it was beautiful. I believe if it’s really pouring they will cancel but otherwise, it’s all part of the fun. 🙂

  • Anosa

    What an amazing experience, I have always wanted to attend shakespeare in the part.

  • Ana De- Jesus

    To be surrounded by such a beautiful array of culture is a fantasy come true. I love live theatre and circus acts would be the icing on the cake.

    • Alex

      Right? So true.

  • Sarah Bailey

    Wow what an amazing sounding event, your photos are gorgeous and I would love to experience it myself I have to admit.

    • Alex

      Aw, thank you. I took them all with my phone not expecting the chance to take real pics, and I was a little worried how they’d turn out.

  • Sarah

    This sounds amazing!! And what a beautiful location!

  • Tanya

    My sister is a massive Shakespeare fan and she is really excited about this, it looks amazing

    • Alex

      Aw, awesome. If she goes, let me know what she thought!

  • LaaLaa

    Wow what a different thing to see, I like this – looks like a lot of fun!

    • Alex

      So much fun. A seriously amazing night out.

  • Liz Mays

    Gosh, that sounded like such a nice time. I really like how the show moves with you.

    • Alex

      That was my favourite part. It was impossible to be bored here, even for a second.

  • Jessica

    Such a wonderful event to attend to. Live performance and great food! 🙂

    • Alex

      All true! It was an incredible evening.

  • Elizabeth

    Oh my goodness this sounds like my idea of heaven! What a super event to attend!

  • Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy

    I have heard about these events before, and they look like so much fun!
    That looks like a good feast too.

  • Laura H

    I love Shakespeare but had no idea that such an event exists! Must check this out and Shakespeare in the Park as well. I live in London so I should be able to make it one day 🙂

  • HAnnah

    Wow this sounds fantastic, I would love to go one day x

  • Jemma

    This looks like my kind of thing. The food looks yummy too.

    • Alex

      It was really amazing from start to finish!

  • Rachel

    Despite the weather and this amazing summer (lol) we are having, it does sound like you had an amazing time x

  • Charlotte

    I would love to go to something like this! I love Shakespeare and I like the idea of involving the meal in the play. x

    • Alex

      Me too. 🙂

  • The London Mum

    Oh my goodness, this sounds incredible, I need to go! I love the sound of moving around watching a pay and being part of it all.

    • Alex

      I hope you do! If you get there, let me know what you think!

  • Harriet from Toby & Roo

    Wow this looks amazing! It sounds like you had the best time 🙂

  • Kira Curtis

    I’m a drama student so something like this sounds amazing! I’d love to see it all! There are a lot more outdoor productions going on recently! I’m in one this week starting tomorrow until Saturday and then I’m going to see The Hobbit outdoors next weeks which I’m looking forward to! Yet, to see some proper outdoor shakespeare though!

    • Alex

      Where is the Hobbit playing outdoors? That sound fantastic.

  • WhatLauraLoves

    I dont think I’ve ever seen an outdoor performance like this before, looks absolutely fantastic xxx

  • Tanya Brannan

    What an absolutely amazing kind of event! I’ve never done anything like this but really would love to! Thank you for the review x

    • Alex

      Aw, thank you Tanya. It was a blast for sure and I can’t wait to see what they do next.

  • Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche

    This is such a cool idea! I’d love to go and see this – much more natural than a set made of wood! 🙂

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