The Boxford Masques - Knight and Day
31st July to 3rd August 2008.
From the Newbury Weekly News.
Romance, music and comedy
A magical setting provides the backdrop for a wonderful evening of al fresco theatre
The Boxford Masques: Knight and Day, on Hoar Hill, Boxford, from Wednesday, July 31 to Sunday, August 3
"Here comes the Sun" - and so began the biennial Boxford Masque of 2008, Knight and Day.
Based on an original story by Charlotte Peake, wonderfully adapted by award-winning author Geraldine McCaughrean, sprinkled with some memorable music by Paul Kissaun and a touch of expert direction under the careful eye of Ade Morris, and the result was an evening that sparkled sensationally from beginning to end.
Held in the magical wooded setting of Hoar Hill, Boxford, courtesy of the Pocock family, the specially-designed sundial stage gave home to a story of princesses, knights, quests, cowardice and, most of all, love.
A resplendent Queen Sun (Alice Bailey) held court to celebrate the birthday of her oldest daughter Aurora. Aurora (Charlotte Walsh) played the spoilt brat to perfection as she chastised all around her.
She was to choose a knight to wed and it seemed a racing certainty that Sunday Best, the very handsome Alex Swann, would be chosen. Not content with the simplest of selections, however, Aurora demanded a fight to the death. Cue a royal tournament.
The squires were a comedic delight with their lists and harebrained money-making schemes in which Oliver Bridges excelled in the role of Squire of Thirsty.
The company included 31 multi-talented and multi-faceted children that pom-pommed with aplomb as tourney cheerleaders, not to mention the shadows, the courtiers, the handmaidens, the wasps, the horse and those ever-so-sweet, bleating and dreamy sheep.
Patricia Williams, the director of the Children's Company, can sleep peacefully knowing that her hard work paid off with interest.
The knights of the Queen were clearly unhappy with the prospect of death and were ushered to look for a way out by the enigmatic Twilight (Ailsa McCaughrean).
A touch of fashion advice, a Quest and a girl at his side ensured that Tuesday Fortnight (Carl Callow) rode his trusty steed (Bluebell the pony) out of harm's way. Wet Wednesday (Malcolm Ellison) was at his snivelling best in his DayGlo yellow suit, proving that a pair of spectacles really can make a difference to one's love life.
Living long in the memory was the stonkingly good drinking song, performed by the irrepressible Thirsty (Simon Fenton) and eagerly egged on by the playful Princess Happy Hour (Katy Sigrist).
Stealthily entering the affray, in a stylish Mercedes convertible, was the leather-clad, hip-thrusting, Darkest Knight (Jon Harding) to whoops of delight from the females in the audience.
Although he was intent on kidnapping Aurora, she used her guile to ensure that, instead, he became her pawn and partook in the tourney instead.
As Sunday and Darkest began to duel to the death, the devious Aurora was undone and could only look on as her sister Twilight threw herself between a joust and Darkest Knight's certain death.
Dying in the arms of Darkest she was magically transformed through the power of the Borealis and captured by the Quest-returning Tuesday, into a truly beautiful Sunset... every bit as good as the real sunset that we had witnessed over the Downs as the story had unfurled.
This was a wonderful evening of romance, music and comedy brought seamlessly together by the fabulous , creative and producing team from The Watermill Theatre.
Bravo Boxford Masques... I can't wait to see you again in 2010.