No BAFTAs for us (boo!) but a huge shout out to the children and goodly folk of Halifax and Havant for your enthusiasm for the Bard during the last month.  Hot foot from our performance of ‘Bard Heads’ at Bishopstone near Salisbury, Wiltshire on the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, we arrived in Halifax for two workshops on ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ with Years 3-6.  As requested the children knew nothing about the play until we arrived but it didn’t take long for them to become completely immersed in the plot.  They seemed to easily pick up on who was in love with whom throughout the story and, if you are familiar with ‘The Dream’, you’ll know that that is no easy feat!  When asked the question “So on whose eyes should Puck put the antidote?” there was a forest of hands going up and a chorus of ‘Lysander!’ Phew! Our work here was done!


Courtesy of St Bart’s Academy, Coventry


Last week we had a brilliant day at The Spring Arts and Heritage Centre, Havant (near Portsmouth).  We were performing ‘Bard Heads’ again and it was a bit of a first for me, since I was doing one show from the collection (The Dust Behind The Door – Hermia 25 years after the end of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’) in the afternoon and then a different show (The Third Witch From The Left – a lesser known time travelling weird sister) in the evening. I’ve never performed two different one woman shows in one day before!  Richard was performing in the evening too (Call Me Oz – Osric 45 years after the Elsinore massacre).  Each performance was followed by a Q&A session (a rather more informal chat in the bar actually following the evening show) and some fantastic feedback from the audience.  We’ve even been privy to a review which has been sent to the Portsmouth News in the hope that it (or at least an edited version) will be printed this week – fingers crossed.  In case it isn’t though – and as uncomfortable as I feel sitting in the brass section of the All About Us Orchestra blasting out our tune – here it is:

Review for Portsmouth News – May 2016

I am not often touched enough by a performance to feel the need to write a review. Even less so am I compelled to reach for my “Complete Works of Shakespeare” but yesterday’s cracking performances of “Bard Heads” at Havant’s Spring Arts & Heritage Centre inspired me to do both.

This excellent and exciting effort from Finding the Will Theatre, based on Shakespearian characters and inspired by Alan Bennett’s “Talking Heads”, kicked off with a matinee performance of “The Dust Behind the Door”, written and performed by the mesmerising Jules Hobbs who tells what might have become of Hermia 25 years after the shenanigans of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. From the outset, Ms Hobbs captivates and paints the setting so clearly that one’s own imagination can picture the scene better than any set could. Expert use of undulating volume and perfect diction maintains the interest throughout. A line from the original play came to mind, when Helena says of Hermia, “How came her eyes so bright?” and Ms Hobbs’ stunning eyes certainly have ‘it’ – you can’t take your eyes off them! The script is well-crafted and not a word was wasted.

Such was the quality of this production that I cancelled my plans for the evening and raced back for a double-helping at 7:30pm which did not disappoint.

Jules Hobbs, now cast in the title role of “The Third Witch From the Left” from Macbeth, returned to take us on a spell-binding and amusing journey, fast-forwarding us to the present day where Meg, the novice witch who was on work-experience on that Scottish heath in 1606, is now 421 years old and a successful astrologer and cookery-writer! There were some real goose-bump moments created not by the spookiness of The Bard’s original scenario but by the sheer performing talent before me. The lengthy applause and cries of “very good” and “very clever” echoing all around me demonstrated that I was not alone in this thinking.

After a short interval, the difficult task of “following that” fell to the experienced and delightful Richard Curnow playing Osric, the stylish and sensitive courtier who witnessed the untimely demise of Hamlet. Still troubled after 45 years, “Call Me Oz” sees Osric constipated and in therapy, finally beginning to cut loose and find himself. Again, from the word go, the actor – oozing with personality – draws you in and makes you laugh, cry and nod in acknowledgment of the thoughts and ideas Curnow’s excellent self-penned piece invokes. With superb use of accents and perfect delivery of hilarious lines such as “He was charming….in a reptilian sort of way”, he brings us to the conclusion that we must all be true to ourselves. I loved every minute.

More need to see this beautiful piece of theatre which, I have no doubt, The Bard himself would be proud of.

The Spring is a charming and superb venue with a very warm welcome – and a top class cream tea! I hope they invite Finding the Will back soon.

Wendy Adams Evans

Looking forward, we have seven days coming up with our longest serving school – Heritage Park Primary in Peterborough.  This will be something like our tenth visit and this year we are doing ‘Twelfth Night’ with Years 1-6.  Also, watch this space for exciting news about Associate Practitioners…………more on that when next we speak……………

End of show

Heritage Park 2010 – End of Show (Hamlet)


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