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Murder In The Park

Posted on by Conrad Brunner

Macbeth is heading to Brighton, and the weather forecast is ‘sunshine’! The performance by Illyria Outdoor Theatre will take place at the Royal Spa on Sunday 6 July, at 7.30pm. There has already been enthusiastic appreciation for the production (see below), which began its national tour earlier this month.

Doors Open 6.30pm, Performance 7.30pm, at Royal Spa, Queen’s Park, BN2 0BT. Tickets: £12.50, £6.50 children (under 16). Tickets are available via the Brighton Ticket Office, telephone: 01273 709 709.  *** The Brighton Ticket Office will close at 1pm Saturday 5th July *** Thereafter, you can by tickets on the door, subject to availability.

Sunday 6 July, 7.30pm

Sunday 6 July, 7.30pm

Death, treachery, blood and murder are not everyone’s idea of family entertainment, but the Jeavons family of Kemptown will be out in significant numbers for Macbeth. They will be there to support young actor Beau Jeavons-White, 23, who will be performing with Illyria in the part of Macduff.

“Will we be attending? Try stopping us! We’re so excited and proud of him,” says Lesley Jeavons. We had a chat with Beau (below, left) about his preparations with Illyria for the summer season:

Swordplay: Rehearsals for Macbeth

Swordplay: Rehearsals for Macbeth

“I’m fairly fresh out of drama school.” said Beau, speaking from a bus somewhere in the West Country. “I’ve done Shakespeare modules, but this is my first public performance. IIllyria were casting for the part of Little John in Robin Hood. They needed someone big, with advanced training in weapons. I specialised in stage combat at the E15 Drama School, plus I’m 6’4”, so I was a good fit.

“We’ve been rehearsing in Cornwall, near Lands End. We live together, eat together, rehearse together. The rest of the crew have all done Illyria before, so I’m the newbie.

Director Oliver Gray, who runs Illyria, warned me beforehand about the workload. “Do you really want to do this? because it’s really tough.” I do want to do it. I got a lot out of drama school, but this is where you really learn your craft.

“The amount of script we need to memorise is enormous, because we have so many parts to learn. I’m in two productions: Robin Hood and Macbeth, with a cast of five. For Macbeth, I play Macduff, the Scottish nobleman who seeks revenge after Macbeth murders his family. And I also play one of the witches, and one of Macbeth’s murderers. With all those parts to learn, we spend pretty much every waking moment face down in our scripts.

“Swordplay is a major part of Macbeth, and the fight between Macduff and Macbeth represents the play’s dramatic conclusion, so you can come and see how we manage the sword fight. I won’t give away who wins.

Shakespeare In The Park faced an uncertain future when, after five seasons of unstinting service, local actors Owen Aaronovitch and Fiona Bruce – herself a graduate of the Illyria Theatre – decided to stand down as event organisers. They’ve called it a day due to their own acting commitments – Fiona has a major part in the West End hit musical ‘Once’ – but The Friends Of Queen’s Park agreed to retain the event, with Conrad Brunner from the committee taking on the organisation.

Fiona has fond memories of her time in outdoor Shakespeare: “I toured with Richard lll in 1997, playing Queen Elizabeth, Catesby and Murderer, among others, five of us delivering the Bard all the way from John o’ Groats to Land’s End – literally. I still have the map up on my kitchen wall with all 54 venues we performed. Many of the places we played in were National Trust properties, sometimes castles, with stunning, unusual grounds, often steeped in history. It was an amazing, unforgettable job.

“What I loved about Illyria was its drive to make Shakespeare accessible to all – to make it fun – and I feel we’re very lucky to have them visiting us in Queen’s Park every year.”

The choice of Macbeth is always popular with the theatre going public. “Macbeth is the nearest thing to a guaranteed crowd pleaser,” says Conrad. “It revels in the dark side of human nature  (there are some decent characters, but they mostly get killed off) pre-dating our modern infatuation with psychotic drama. Macbeth has a lot in common with TV shows like Game Of Thrones, only Shakespeare’s script – written around 400 years ago – is so much better, don’t you think?

“I can’t think of anything I’d rather watch on a warm summer’s evening, perhaps with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.”

Authentic customer feedback

Authentic customer feedback

Sunday 6 July, 2014, Royal Spa, Queen’s Park, BN2 0BT, doors Open 6.30pm, Performance 7.30pm. Tickets: £12.50, £6.50 children (under 16)

This is an outdoor performance. Please bring your own seating/rug, warm clothes and picnic. Cancellation in the event of hurricane only when performance will be rescheduled. Tickets are non-refundable.

Tickets available via the Brighton Ticket Office, telephone: 01273 709 709. You can get tickets on the door SUBJECT TO AVAILABILITY.

 

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