blog and photo by Sophia Moseley
I wonder if Jane Austen’s opinion of the Prince Regent influenced her world renowned story Emma, particularly as his Royal Highness ‘gave her’ the honour of dedicating the story to him! Perhaps some of the prince’s pomposity filtered through into the main character as Emma spent her time presuming to know what was best for everyone and this shameless matchmaker is brilliantly portrayed by Bobbi O’Callaghan in Hotbuckle Productions’ stage performance,
“They express themselves very properly”
Bobbi’s performance is superbly complemented by the other three actors, Adrian Preater (who is also the Artistic Director), Clare Harlow and Jack Farrar; each of them adopting up to four different characters and it was their skilfully rapid and immediate metamorphosis that not only kept the audience fired up but the changes were so brilliantly executed there was no doubt as to who was who.
The inspired use of the few props they had, turning a four-piece wooden structure from a fire place into an easel, a carriage and a swing seat to name but four transported us from the warmth of the kitchen hearth to the chill of a winter ride in a horse and carriage.
Musical instruments also played an important role, including a tin whistle, clarinet and accordion, each helping create the image, whether it was a magnificent ballroom or the cosy intimacy of a small living room.
Humour was also very much part of the performance; the hypochondriac Mr Woodhouse who fussed about everything,
“He’s going to London for a haircut? Sixteen miles for a haircut?”
And the audience clearly adored the play, John and Sam from Leeds who were staying at Hook Farm Camping Site loved the show and the theatre,
“We saw the theatre when we visited the TIC so we bought our tickets then and you’re right, they are lovely ladies in there and we love it here, it reminds of the Hebden Bridge Theatre in West Yorkshire. There’s such a nice atmosphere here and it feels really special and the show was brilliant!”
As Emma said, they express themselves very properly!