The Rude Mechanicals, The Wife of Bath

Review in Issue 15-4 | Winter 2003

A few days after watching this show was sitting in Kew gardens, looking at the dappled rays of sun streaming through the branches of a beech tree. That moment of suspended time was in many ways like this show. It held within it a sense of the perfect English pastoral idyll; for those moments, like this show, are timeless.

The space, on Hampton Court Green, was defined with a feeling of travelling carts drawn around, and utilised gas lights to provide illumination, gving the whole show a sense of a trav. elling troupe of medieval performers.

The characterisations in the show were inspired by movements from the commedia dell'arte, and avoided the common pitfall with this type of movement of imprisoning the performers within it, and instead worked to support the performers and give them a lot of freedom, which they clearly relished.

The performances from all of the cast were fantastic, with some deft individual touches, yet it was undeniably an ensemble piece. If I were to split hairs I would say that it could have done with a bit of editing, just to shorten it a touch, but that is not to say it dragged at all. All in all it was bawdy, challenging, lively, funny, skil ful and touching in good measure, and the moments of real pathos were handled expertly by the cast. A superbly crafted, well performed and entertaining piece of theatre.

Presenting Artists

Hampton Court Green

Date Seen
  1. Aug 2003

This article in the magazine

Issue 15-4
p. 29