REVIEW: Shakeapeare at Arundel Festival

Shakespeare at Arundel Castle. Photo: Chris Hopkins.
Shakespeare at Arundel Castle. Photo: Chris Hopkins.
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A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare at The Collector Earl’s Garden at Arundel Castle as part of the Arundel Festival.

Too many people shy away from Shakespeare.

They see his work as remote, difficult to understand, too ‘high brow’, and irrelevant to their modern day lives.

But regular audiences at the Arundel Festival know that these prejudices are as misplaced as the floral love juice that Puck sprinkles in the eyes of young lovers in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Dressed though it is in exquisitely clever dialogue and pretty poetry, Shakespeare’s work endures because it has an earthy, at times bawdy quality, to which everyone can relate.

It’s true that much of his plotting was almost formulaic - there are recurring themes and devices in all his great works.

But the secret of his success was understanding human nature and revealing it in occasionally a comic and other times brutal light.

Shakespeare may be revered by the linguist for great lines - but his real strength was amazing characterisation and an overwhelming sense of the emotional.

The wonderful GB Theatre Company returned once more this year to the stunning setting of The Collector Earl’s Garden where again they demonstrated just how captivating the Bard’s work remains.

Rich in visual humour and with a style that owes much to slapstick, this production captivates from the outset.

Well designed, perfectly staged, and remaining utterly true to the original, GB is ensuring that Shakespeare is not just remembered but remains wholly relevant.

GS

The next event at Arundel Castle will be the Pirate & Smugglers Day on 22 September.

Tickets start from £8.

For more information please visit www.arundelcastle.org.