‘Much Ado About Nothing’ at Parham House

Much Ado About Nothing production at Parham House SUS-141106-110521001
Much Ado About Nothing production at Parham House SUS-141106-110521001

Over three hundred guests recently visited Parham to enjoy this year’s open air production of Much Ado About Nothing by the award-winning Shakespeare Globe Theatre Company’s small scale touring programme.

With the Elizabethan house as the dramatic backdrop, echoing and magnifying the sound to perfection, the first night guests stoically braved torrential rain during the second half as only the great British public can do!

Directed by Max Webster in his debut for the Globe, the title roles were played by Globe regular Emma Pallant, (Beatrice), Simon Bubb (Benedick) and Sam Phillips (Claudio). Max Webster’s directing credits include Twelfth Night for Regents Park Open Air Theatre, Orlando and To Kill A Mocking Bird at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester and My Generation for the West Yorkshire Playhouse.

Much Ado About Nothing will be his Globe debut. Emma Pallant has performed at The Globe as Lady Capulet in Romeo and Juliet, 2013 and as Jaques in As You Like It, 2012.

Simon Bubb was last seen in the National Theatre’s tour of People, 2013 and the Old Vic’s tour of Noises Off, 2013. Sam Phillips recently appeared in BBC drama in The Flesh, 2014, Doctors, 2013 and Larisa and the Merchant, 203 at the Arcola Theatre.

Using an Elizabethan style booth stage – inspired by paintings and etchings from Shakespeare’s time, when touring was prevalent – eight actors visited Parham on Tuesday May 27 and Wednesday May 28. The tour now continues across the UK and concludes in Ireland at the Kilkenny Arts Festival on August 17.

Commented Lady Emma Barnard, Chatelaine of Parham House & Gardens, “In spite of the torrential rain during the second half of the play on Tuesday night, the atmosphere was really superb – and sales of hot chocolate, home-made biscuits and cake during the intervals were brisk!

The players were so good - full of good humour, energy and invention, and consummately professional, as usual.

On the second evening, thankfully there was no rain and the weather was still and pretty warm so that our guests could enjoy this excellent performance in this unusual auditorium.”

Report and picture contributed by Zanny Gilchrist.