Theatre Review: Blackadder the Third, Everyman Open Air Theatre Festival

It takes a certain level of bravery to tackle Blackadder. The perennially popular comedy series saw Rown Atkinson and cast create characters that weren’t just memorable – they were iconic.

Fortunately, the Everyman Open Air Theatre don’t just have the chops to rise to the challenge. They also have the talent to back up their courage, and at opening night of Blackadder the Third, the first of four plays featured in the festival, they had everyone in stitches as they worked their way through three episodes of the show.

I knew I was in for a great night from the moment I walked into the open air venue at the Sophia Gardens, Cardiff. Everyone was so lovely, the front of house staff going out of their way to make sure the audience felt welcome and at ease. When you’re in a good mood even before the first cast member walks out, you know you’re going to have fun.IMG_8437

I don’t envy anyone taking on the titular Blackadder, but Brian Smith wisely made the decision not to attempt to emulate Rowan Atkinson, bringing his own interpretation to the role. He was at his best when going off script – when Baldrick, played by Peter Harding-Roberts, fluffed his lines, Smith saved the day and had the audience roaring – and he always provided a solid grounding as the lead around which the rest of the action revolved.

IMG_7876My personal favourite was David O’Rourke as Prince George. If you closed your eyes, it could have been Hugh Laurie on the stage and he was a sheer delight as the air-headed Prince Regent. However, it also has to be said that Harding-Roberts made a superb Baldrick, and hats off to the casting director for placing the right people in the right roles. They were close enough to the original that you could relax in the knowledge that you were in safe hands, while bringing enough of their own spin to keep things fresh and new.

Overall, it was hard to believe that this was an amateur production. It was slick, smooth and, quite frankly, better than many professional shows I’ve been to. I had an absolute blast and cannot recommend it enough – if I could go back every night, I would.

If you’re looking for some first class summer entertainment, then the Everyman Open Air Theatre Festival is the place to be. I can’t wait to check out their production of Beauty and the Beast in a couple of weeks.

For further information and to book your tickets, visit the Everyman Open Air Theatre Festival’s website. You won’t regret it!


Tendonitis HURTS!

Behind the Scenes editingSo my right hand’s been hurting really badly for the past fortnight, which has severely impacted on my ability to write (and is one of the main reasons I haven’t been updating here). I think it was triggered when I wrote 4,500 words in a couple of hours on my laptop, which doesn’t have an ergonomic keyboard. I felt a bit sore afterwards, but didn’t think anything of it until it gradually got worse over the next few days and then eventually my hand seized up altogether.

The really annoying part about it is that this happened just when I decided I was going to branch out and focus more on writing my own material rather than ghostwriting. I feel like I’ve learned so much through writing for other people but now it’s time to cut out the middle man and see if I can make more money writing for myself. It’s exciting and nerve wracking all at the same time, made all the more frustrating by the fact that I could write two books a week for a client but I haven’t written a single word for myself because of my hand.

It’s a lot better now. It feels more like a dull ache than permanent pins and needles, but it still means that I can’t churn out words for a bit. I need to rest when I recognise that my hand’s starting to seize up.

My plans to take over the world have been put on the back burner, darn it.


Everyman Open Air Festival

I’m very excited. I’ve been invited to review some of the shows at this year’s Everyman Open Air Festival, so I’m going to see Blackadder the Third and Beauty and the Beast.

It’s the Sophia Gardens in Cardiff and I honestly don’t know which show I’m more excited about seeing. I love Blackadder, but Disney’s always fun and it’s one of my children’s favourite films, so it’s going to be great seeing it on the stage. Plus I always enjoy outdoor theatre.

My husband was saying that he wanted to see some outdoor Shakespeare this year, so perhaps I should get him a ticket for As You Like It too!