I don’t get much time to go to the theatre these days. It’s a miracle that I get an evening out at all, what with three wild things to fend for and the unsociable working hours of a freelancer. But when I hear that the devilish combo of a Bill Scott adaptation, Calderon’s greatest play and the brilliant Miracle Theatre company is hitting a series of spectacular outdoor venues across the Southwest, I make sure that miracle becomes a reality.
I was lucky enough to bag the sort of balmy evening that makes you want to sit outside until after the mid-summer sun sets, and took a seat in Trebah’s amphitheatre, embraced by sublime sub-tropical gardens. It’s more intimate than The Minack, and the lush scenery tumbling to the banks of the Helford River is a much softer and more tranquil version of Cornwall’s scenery. This is the south coast, after all.
As soon as the handful of actors took the stage I was swept into Calderon’s plot, in which the boundaries between destiny, reality and dreams are explored. Philosophical, thought provoking and hilarious, the core of this epic fable, published 20 years after Shakespeare’s death, is a pitch against one’s fate and a question of whether our destiny is sealed, or if our choices and happenstance can alter its course.
Amazingly the tiny, tiered stage and a few props made a more than adequate stand-in for the mountainous regions across which the play is set, while ingenious sound effects created a dazzling soundtrack. The remarkable seven-strong cast also managed to dip seamlessly in and out of different roles – and even the treetops of Trebah played a part and complemented the ambience.
Life’s A Dream is touring all sorts of breath-taking alfresco settings in the Southwest until the end of July, so grab a blanket, pack a picnic and prepare to be swept into the plot of love, war and destiny. Or, come August you can bag your seats for Miracle Theatre’s rootin’ tootin’ toe-tappin’ comedy – The Magnificent Three. Also touring spectacular settings from castles to clifftops, this second show is said to be a side-splitting Spaghetti Western adventure that shouldn’t be missed. And if two miracles happen this summer, I’ll get to go and see this one too.
Visit www.miracletheatre.co.uk for tickets, tour dates and to find a venue near you.