Petworth Festival and the Bard

Leading open-air theatre company Illyria make two trips to West Sussex for the Petworth Festival.

They open their account with Henry V at Bignor Park, Pulborough on Friday July, 20 at 7pm. Gates open for picnics at 5.30pm. Audiences are advised to bring rugs or low-backed seating.

Festival spokeswoman Mary Hamilton said: “We welcome back travelling theatre company Illyria whose young cast went down a storm in 2011 with their blisteringly-paced, physical and comedic version of Twelfth Night. In 2012 and with an eye on the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee just past, Illyria takes on Henry V.

“King Henry IV has died and his son Prince Hal reigns. It’s war with France and all England rises up to back the King. At the city of Harfleur, the King and his forces encounter stiff resistance and King Hal rallies his forces with the patriotic speech ‘Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more...’”

The company are back at the same venue, in a rather lighter vein, a couple of days later with their production of Roald Dahl’s The Twits (Sunday, July 22, 2.30pm; gates open for picnics at 12.30pm.)

“Mr and Mrs Twit seem to be the ideal couple. They are as foul as each other! But Mr and Mrs Twit cannot resist playing tricks upon each other. Mrs Twit gives Mr Twit a scare by dropping her glass eye into his mug. He retaliates by putting a frog in her bed.

“Next she serves him wormy spaghetti, and the action quickly escalates into a classic Roald Dahl black comedy featuring some of the nastiest characters and funniest moments in any of his fiction.”

Illyria was created in 1991, and ever since has delighted audiences the length and breadth of the UK, and in the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, the United States and Canada.

Illyria has also won four international Best Performance awards and attracted numerous five-star and Critics’ Choice reviews for the lively clarity of its approach to Shakespeare’s plays, the high quality of its shows for families and the refreshing originality of its adaptations of English classics.

Illyria’s mission is simply: to create a varied programme of outstandingly enjoyable theatre and to make it available for everyone to see.

More details on www.illyria.uk.com. Tickets on 01798 344576.