Bard in the Botanics, not too far from Shakespeare St, in Glasgow’s West End, offers an interesting alfresco element to Shakespeare’s theatre, which can have its pros and cons. We chose Much Ado About Nothing to view outside the glasshouse in Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens, which had a circus, almost Punch and Judyesque filter on it. It was certainly a popular night, with many showing up with travel chairs and the most lavish of picnics.
Being an outside gig, there were a few setbacks, in that this type of performance required a powerful delivery from all cast, which only a handful were able to deliver. The noise of chatter amidst the audience as well as their munching and even the further sound of drums and children not attending the performance could often be heard when sat at the back of the audience. Further to that, we were not offered any stools or chairs to witness the play, which does affect the viewing with the heads of those sat obviously getting in the way. At times I wished we were in an actual theatre.
However, it was nice to be able to take in a performance in the beautiful surroundings that are Glasgow’s well-groomed Botanic Gardens. With some performances I reckon Mr Shakespeare would be turning but we were pleasantly surprised by the acting of Nicole cooper and Adam Donaldson, who seemed like they were well rehearsed and versed in Shakespeare. However, it is clear that this is not the Globe, as we are let down by the acting of a couple and the midges biting.
As I mentioned previous Benedick and Beatrice are performing in the world of a Victorian travelling circus, which does not necessarily contribute anything to the play. One of the Shakespearean romantic comedies, I feel that there is not enough hearty laughter and more hearty organic bread during this evening. It’s unfortunate, as this has so much potential. Throw in the chairs, a couple of actors that have more experience of performing alfresco and less midges, and I think we are onto something great.
For more on Bard in the Botanics and tickets for the remaining performances, click here