Attending Butterfly Theatre’s premier performance of “Shakespeare in the Bar” last night sparked a powerful memory of the first time I witnessed the Bard’s words take life on a stage. The stage in question was a rudimentary one in a series of prefabricated classrooms. The Company was the casually clothed “Young Elizabethan Players” who, with a few props and the odd crown, performed excerpts from the plays set on the three tiered examinable English syllabus of that year. It was 1960 and I was indeed a “callow youth”! Yet then, as in the presence of “Butterfly” last night, I was held in thrall.
The five Act thematic concept from Tony Knight and Bronwyn Ruciak with light and intelligent direction by Tony Knight was inspirational. The ensemble of Marc Clement, Stefanie Rossi, Bronwyn Ruciak and Benn Welford used their collective and considerable talents in a way that made every moment melt. It was all quite delicious.
Each of the actors succeeded in conjuring the imaginings that came from a pen on paper over 400 years ago. Such a prodigious wealth of imagery from words alone! Marc’s rendition of “All the World’s a Stage” seems to resonate even more in this day and age. Singing throughout was mellow indeed. Stefanie’s “Willow Song” was simply mellifluous and the opening and closing song “Under the Greenwood Tree” was delivered with harmonies most pleasing.
The chemistry evoked by Benn and Stefanie during Act (1) “On Wooing” was palpable throughout. Each member of this fine ensemble displayed perfect cadence in their delivery. Each performance piece blended seamlessly with the next. Movement and interaction on stage and around the audience was naturally smooth and it was a pleasure to sit back and be well lulled.
“Butterfly” has given us the gift of a sublime evening of “Bard and Bliss” at the theatre.Shakespeare in the Bar
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