Watermill - Arabian Nights
1st December 2004 to 8th January 2005.
From the Newbury Weekly News.
Heads or tales, its a Watermill winner
Arabian Nights, at The Watermill, until Saturday, January 8
All the worlds a stage, they say, and the Watermills, with its sumptuous silks, Moroccan lamps and laundry baskets was beautifully set for some seeds of Middle Eastern wisdom.
And as lopped heads relentlessly fell with the scimitars swipe, the comedy rolled on.
You may think the oft-told tales of the Arabian nights familiar, but writer Neil Duffield, responsible for the last two Christmas shows, has taken them, shaken them and spilled them like a bag of beans.
Not 1001 nights of stories here, but 1,000 morning-after severed heads before the kinda-cute but frustratingly unassertive Shahryar begs the perfectly piquish Sultan Shahzaman (his control-freak elder brother who is venting bitterness at his lately-lamented wifes infidelity) for a night off from the decapitation of his new brides.
With all other candidates having fled, the Grand Wazirs two daughters enter the frame and the boys get more than they bargained for. Sheherazad has a game plan.
The five-strong troupe of actor/musicians grasped Arabia by the throat and with brass, strings and drums conjured up the desert airs, romping through their dual roles to act out the end to end epic until reality and imagination blurred into one.
This show is simpler than the previous two and richer for it. The production team proved that they have the measure of the space.
Saturdays audience of grans and children entered into the spirit and became enthralled by Sheherazads ripping yarn. The Watermill can notch up another winner.
From The Times.
From The Guardian.
There is a review by The Stage ("beautifully staged and intriguingly performed").