In pictures: The Winter's Tale at Roman Theatre of Verulamium in St Albans
- Credit: Tim Morozzo
There's still time to catch the final performances of The Winter's Tale at this summer's successful Roman Theatre Open Air Festival in St Albans.
The press night for OVO's third production of the Maltings Theatre's outdoor festival took place at the Roman Theatre of Verulamium on Wednesday night with a capacity audience under current government rules.
Fortunately, the rain held off and those attending were able to enjoy Shakespeare’s tale of jealousy, love, and redemption.
Co-directed by Adam Nichols and Janet Podd, The Winter's Tale can be seen in St Albans until Saturday, July 10 before it transfers to the famous Minack open-air theatre in Cornwall.
Janet said: “We’ve built up a really good reputation with audiences over the years by making Shakespeare at the Roman Theatre enjoyable and accessible.
"One of the ways we’ve enhanced the audience’s take on our production of The Winter’s Tale this year is to use live music.
"The music in the first half is dramatic and atmospheric; in the second half (where the musicians join the cast onstage) audiences recognise some of the tunes, they clap in time and I think it adds to the sheer joy of the second half of the play.
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"The setting is huge and magical and for us it’s important that the audience feels part of the whole experience.”
The energetic cast includes the Maltings’ own artistic director, Adam Nichols, as a fierce and unforgiving King Leontes, while Lucy Crick plays his wronged wife Hermione.
A sympathetic Faith Turner doubles up as Paulina from Sicilia and Dorcas from Bohemia.
Standout performances on press night were led by a commanding Mat Betteridge as Polixenes of Bohemia, who is wrongly accused of getting Queen Hermione pregnant, the musical Emilia Harrild as Perdita, and physical comic actor Will Pattle, who also delighted Roman Theatre audiences last year in The Merry Wives of Windsor.
Emma Lyth’s costumes ranged from darkly-hued coats and suits for the scenes in Leontes' kingdom of Sicilia to colourful dresses, spangly trousers and cowboy boots and hats for the musical scenes in the second act, which is set in the jolly countryside of Bohemia.
This production of The Winter’s Tale will be performing at the Minack Theatre in Cornwall from July 18 to July 28.