A Shakespearian Promenade, University of Southampton Theatre Group, Garden Court, Highfield Campus

First published in Curtain Call by

USTG is clearly up for a challenge, and choosing, casting, editing, rehearsing and performing a play within one week has to represent a big ask for all concerned, but the group comes up trumps with this lively highly-cut one-hour romp in the unusual surroundings of the former Uni refectory.

Presented in promenade style, with an unexpected pre-play introduction to the characters by way of individual ad-libbed role-play with the audience, this talented company of actors was clearly not afraid to work amongst (and, on occasions, with) the audience, whose focus was held throughout by some good characterisations, comic business, and the players’ evident understanding of the text.

Some characters virtually disappeared in the editing including Malvolio the Steward (unfortunately) and Feste the Fool (thankfully), but Sam Dobson’s affable Orsino and Anita Thomson’s misguidedly love-struck Olivia stood out, along with Carly Brown’s excellent Viola/Cesario, and Joel Jackson’s pleasantly inebriated Toby Belch.

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