Audiences were delighted last weekend to see their first live performance at the unique Willow Globe theatre in Mid Wales since the COVID-19 lockdown.
The energetic and inventive performance of Comedy of Errors was created in less than a week, as four actors from the Wet Mariners opened to the first of five shows at 5pm last Friday.
Ingenious staging led to hilarity and delight as each pair of twins was played by a single actor, while Tom the Extra stretched the meaning of characterisation to perform 13 parts in one show.
The Wet Mariners is a company of professional actors who regularly perform at the Royal Shakespeare Company and Royal National Theatre. Yet, every summer, they return to the Willow Globe at Llanwrthwl, near Llandrindod Wells because of their love and respect for Shakespeare Link.
Celebrated in the Guardian newspaper as one of the few outdoor theatres opening this summer, Shakespeare Link put in a great deal of effort and care to ensure the performance complied with the Welsh Government COVID-19 guidelines.
Everyone was welcomed, from wheelchair users to young children. They all wore masks and followed social distancing guidelines.
The limited number of tickets available for each show meant the Wet Mariners had to stage an extra performance to meet demand, demonstrating a fierce generosity and commitment to the Willow Globe and the community it has created.
It was a magical weekend, as the loyal audiences were delighted to be in the theatre in the sunshine. Many of the audience had not been out since March and were thrilled to share the beautiful wooded outdoor theatre for an evening of riotously funny, talented Live Shakespeare.
“It is such a relief to be at a live performance and just see people again,” said one. “I can’t think of any production of anything I’ve enjoyed more,” said another.
“It was magic. Such a treat to be part of a live performance after so many months of absence. The players were wonderful, carrying off a complicated plot with zest and panache. We came home buoyed up by the experience and brimming with images from the play,” was another comment from the audience.