When a raven is hoarse

Ages ago, we bought tickets to see the latest HandleBards all female production. This year Macbeth was given the unique HandleBards treatment. It’s my favourite Shakespeare play, so I was really looking forward to it.

There was a bit of a worry with the predicted weather. Yesterday the forecast had rain falling during the performance. This morning, I fearfully looked at the latest weather guess. The rain was due early, it said. Then, at around 10am, it started.

The rain was actually quite heavy for a lot of the morning but then, gradually and almost miraculously, it went away. The clouds vanished. We had some sun. It was as if my beseeching prayer to Dionysus had been heard. Or maybe it was the sacrifice to Thor. Or maybe it was my pleas to Maahes. I was definitely taking no chances, so it could have been any of them.

The last time we attended a HandleBards production (The Tempest back in 2019) we were forced inside at The Maltings.

So, warm and dry, we took up our spots opposite the stage, set up outside the Phoenix Theatre in Bordon.

We were then told to move by one of the actors. We were not, apparently, in the safe zone. There then transpired a lot of chair shuffling and general movement as we took our spaces directly in front of the stage. We definitely had the best seats in the house. Or outside the house, I guess.

As the day gradually started shifting into night, the performance started. And it didn’t stop for the next hour and a half.

The witches were brilliant. I’ve seen a lot of Macbeth witches in the past and these were the best. Seriously. Okay, they were also incredibly funny but, even so, Weird Sisters they certainly were.

I’ve often said that Macbeth only has one laugh in it (the knocking at the door of the castle) but tonight proved otherwise. The troupe had the audience in stitches for the entire performance.

The amazing cast was Natalie Simone (Lady Macbeth), Jenny Smith (Duncan) and Kathryn Perkins (Macbeth). Obviously they all played multiple parts, perfectly. I particularly liked Jenny’s Macduff.

I feel I should mention the unwitting fourth cast member, John. He was handed a bicycle bell and told to ring it at various times through the performance. He did very well, following quite a bit of prompting.

My mismatched and colourful socks also took part, being mentioned at one point.

I particularly loved the “…raven himself is hoarse…’ silliness. And the rest of the silliness, actually.

To be fair, I loved everything about it!

All in all, another fantastic production from the HandleBards.

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