Saturday, 28 July 2018

Rocking The BOAT

The main reason that Peter and Jenny invited us to go with them to Brownsea on Monday was to see BOAT- the Brownsea Open Air Theatre. This group of talented amateurs have been meeting since 1964 [I'm not sure if any of the original group members are still involved] and each summer perform a Shakespeare play.
They meet each weekend throughout the spring to prepare and rehearse. An elaborate stage set is constructed, and there are three banks of tiered seating.
What can I tell you about Monday night's performance?
Jenny rang and invited us to go, and I said yes immediately. I love watching Shakespeare in the open air. We saw Midsummer Night's Dream in Norfolk two years ago.
"It's Titus Andronicus" Jenny said, adding "I don't know anything about that play - I'm just going for the experience"
"It's bloody violent" I replied [not my usual language, I admit]
I sensed that Jenny was suddenly unsure - should she have invited the Pastor's wife to something like that?
"Oh don't worry!" I said "It won't be much worse than the average evening in Ambridge!"
Well - we went, and it was extremely well done. It is the most violent, and bloody, of Will's plays. One lady left just before the interval, followed by her husband- and they didn't return. 
I shan't give any spoilers, but suffice it to say that we didn't eat pie on Tuesday!
We were asked not to take photographs during the production. Here are some from the BOAT website,

I was sorry that some of the audience felt the need to giggle at some of the more gruesome bits - but that may have been a coping mechanism. If you aren't expecting it, the gushing blood can come as a bit of a shock.
I certainly needed the reviving cup of tea which Jenny produced in the interval
This an incredibly miserable story, focussing on revenge and hatred. 
It was very good amateur theatre - lighting, costumes etc all excellent. I'd be interested in seeing BOAT's Richard III next summer. 
But if you want something more jolly I'd recommend you try Mamma Mia 2 instead!
We were watching the dress rehearsal - this is an annual perk for the Brownsea NT Volunteers plus their guests. So on the ferry back, well after 10pm, we were travelling with many of Jenny and Peter's colleagues. It was such fun [despite the gory bits]. Thanks again J&P!


  1. I am rubbish at gory stuff. We are not going to see our local open air Shakespeare this year because it's Macbeth and I find it really grim

  2. Glad you enjoyed the play, even if it was gory!

  3. They do 2 Shakespearean plays each summer here in High Park and it is always very popular - I think they are professionals.
    I went to see a professional production of Pygmalion a week ago - a friend lives near the Guildwood Park where a play takes place each summer. I have to say that I was very impressed - really well done and the setting was wonderful.

    1. Somehow there's something special about plays performed out in the open air.


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