The best part of the arrival of fairer weather is that it signals the opening of the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, which will open Peter Pan on May 17th. If you have never been to the Open Air Theatre, what are you doing? On a nice day, the venue is worth the reasonable ticket price alone. The stage is built into the thick forest of Regent’s Park.
Something about this really triggers a suspension of disbelief in me. An outdoor stage opens up the world of the stories. Peter Pan is the perfect opener because it’s literally a play about boys and girls living in the wild. I have a great admiration for scenic design. I’m sure at other venues the artificial trees, shrubbery, and sky created would dazzle me, but when it’s actually outside, it just feels real.
Of the schedule, I am probably most excited about Little Shop of Horrors, the cult musical about a bloodthirsty plant and its victims. The last couple times I’ve seen Little Shop has been in movie format in a revival theatre at an ungodly hour. I am eager to see it refreshed in the open air.
Let us not forget the upcoming summer season at the world famous Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. Too frequently the past couple months I have had to pack a poncho for the semi-open space. Well, seeing as it’s London I still will, but I’ll do it with my fingers crossed.
If you’ve never been to the Globe, I am insisting you go. People who are worried about Shakespearean dialogue need not be afraid, the language used is universal and classic. These are premier actors who convey every laugh line, heartbreak, deception, and morose monologue with unparalleled rhythm and clarity.
I once spoke to an actor in the company who told me a tourist had been hesitant to go, so she appreciated that the actors started with Shakespearean dialogue and slowly transitioned into modern language. As the actor told her, there was no transition; she was just able to comprehend the lingo at an exponential rate. And honestly, the physicality and rhythm of these actors is so special, it could be in Russian and I’d still laugh and tear up throughout.
If this is your first time, I recommend going to see a comedy. As You Like It, the story of a woman disguised as a man trying to win the heart of the male lead Orlando, is the very definition of classic. For the treacherous tragedy lovers, Hamlet and Othello are both making summer runs. If I still haven’t convinced you to try the old bard out, consider Eyam, which is a brand new original play by award-winning writer Matt Hartley.
Maybe theatre isn’t your thing though, I won’t hold it against you. Maybe you like getting blasted and busting moves to the hottest DJs in the world in front of giant robotic spiders shooting flames, I won’t hold that against you either. If that’s the case though, the 10th annual Arcadia Festival returns to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford May 5-6th is the outdoor event for you.
This year’s slew of acts includes Leftfield, Eats Everything, and Groove Armada. The trick is you will also have the delight of seeing Metamorphosis, the death-defying acrobatic musical experience, which is technically “theatre”. Ha! Made you enjoy it.
Anyways, I’m going to go for a walk. See you guys outside!