A Potter About The Castle

Theatre Severn,

Shrewsbury Castle,

Quantum Theatre Presents,

The Tale of Benjamin Bunny and Peter Rabbit.

August 4th 2022

Although the castle makes a magical setting for theatre there are a couple of pitfalls that have to be taken in consideration.

Firstly, it is important that when staging the playing angle the low hot and blinding Sun needs taking into consideration. One understands it’s a problem if the stage has it’s back to the Sun, then it will shine in the eyes of the audience, for shine read ferocious blinding. If, however they play it the other way, so the audience has their backs to the Sun, then naturally the sun will blind the actors. The answer is to angle it Northwest to Southeast. That would help.

The second trap is audibility some actors cannot be heard without microphones, an actor’s skill is projection, as actors are now used to hidden PA systems in theatres there is nothing assisting them here but pure human vocality. If it is wrong, the show may suffer.

So, to Peter Rabbit, the favourite little rabbit created by the bucolic Beatrix Potter. Both initially mentioned traps, offered problems and the show did suffer slightly for it.

What is crucial to say is this is a great show. It’s target audience, (Toddlers 4 to 8) engaged well with the characters, and they didn’t struggle with the narrative. It might have been slightly too long for the very young, but the over fours were thoroughly engaged in the show. Towards the end a lot of children had reached the end of their attention span and were starting to fidget slightly.

The show itself is well written, and excellently performed. The cast had not only to act in mask but they had to sing and dance as well. That triple threat that we have met before. They all had it. The singing was lovely with tight and well-rehearsed harmonies; and the narrative was fast and flowing and had chases and confrontations all stemming around the irresistible kitchen Garden of Mr. Mc. Gregor, The dreaded Gardener and arch nemesis of Peter Rabbit.

However, whilst all this was well written and well-rehearsed, it would have benefitted from a PA system and the actors would be better served were they to use microphones. Discreetly placed on the hair line they would have saved the problems of audibility that were encountered. Some voices were strong, confidence and strident some were not and that was slightly irritating, trying to guess what was being said. If one is playing outdoors one should project to the furthest away spot that you can see anything falling between that and you would be able to hear all that was being said. Sadly that didn’t work so well and a lot of dialogue was lost as were song lyrics. Even the actor’s with the stronger voices were lost when they turned their back.

However, that said one has never seen a bunch of children so excited and having so much fun. They ooo’d and ahhhhh’d in all the right places and even warned peter of any imminent danger. They were clearly engaged and having great fun. Children have a wonderful ability to immerse themselves wholly in a show and if that is the case they react with volume when they are expected to . There was a lot of that. Well done, Quantum

As for run time one might be inclined to shave a little off. The very young were losing interest and consequently taking up all the parent’s time and efforts. Parents need a rest too and there’s no better time when your children are being entertained.

In summary one would say this is a well devised, well directed, well-acted show with superb casting. There was a problem with volume but that can be fixed. Quantum came with one objective. That was to entertain over 200 children. This they did.

This is a Four-Star Review.

Owen J.Lewis


Sofia Lewis Sofia Lewis
For many years Sofia wrote here under her male name Owen J. Lewis. She is now mostly writing under her own name of Sofia Lewis. Sofia, who worked on independent radio for over ten years, lives in Shrewsbury and writes plays. She has over 15 titles published and her plays are performed all over the world. She is especially popular in America. Her poetry is also often noted and she writes reams of it most weeks. Since graduating in theatre in 1997 Sofia has been an Actor, Filmmaker, and a Secondary School Teacher. Reviewing theatre is something she thoroughly enjoys and she loves to see great theatre. As a musician Sofia is known throughout the UK she is a folk singer, and is often seen or heard around her native county singing and having fun. Sofia has contributed to loveshrewsbury.com for over a decade and enjoys sharing her views on theatre. Sofia has one daughter and grew up in Church Stretton.

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