Merchant in the Gardens

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The Synergy Theatre is returning to the Southover Grange Gardens, Lewes, with one of Shakespeare’s more complex plays, The Merchant Of Venice (July 19-23).

Bassanio is in love with Portia. Despite being a gentleman, he is completely broke and needs money so he can impress his wealthy would-be wife.

As artistic director David Parton explains: “His best friend, Antonio, is our eponymous Merchant - with plenty of business interests both at home and abroad. Unfortunately, what Antonio lacks is what Bassanio needs - ready cash. Eager to help his friend, Antonio turns to Shylock - the local moneylender - for a loan.

“But Shylock is a man at the end of his tether. Physically and verbally abused by Antonio, Bassanio and their friends his entire life, Shylock sees Antonio’s need as an opportunity for revenge. And what revenge. He lends the gentlemen the money but his conditions are harsh. Antonio has to stake his very life as security for the loan but Antonio is sure that he’ll be able to repay it on time. He only has to wait until his ships come in...

“With bitterness, revenge and anger sitting alongside love, daring and mercy, The Merchant of Venice has something for everyone. There’s even a particularly witty and loquacious Clown.”

David added: “This year, we’ll be having some basic shelter on standby for our audiences but do bring a waterproof - and something to keep you warm - just in case of showers. Our British summers have a reputation for fickleness! Don’t forget something to sit on, too, and why not come along early, bring a picnic and enjoy the Gardens as the dusk falls.”

Tickets (£12/£10 concs) are available from 01273 301444, boxoffice@thesynergytheatre.co.uk or in person from Lewes Tourist Information Centre or on the door.