The skies were still a brilliant blue and the sun warm as we made our way towards Trebah Garden’s Amphitheatre. We had two thick blankets and parcels of food bundled into a big trug that we carried between us, ready to relax whole-heartedly into an evening of entertainment provided by Miracle Theatre.
Weaving our way through neat paths hugged by lush, sub-tropical vegetation, we arrived at the amphitheatre, already alive with the excited murmur of a happy crowd waiting for Miracle Theatre’s latest masterpiece, Life’s a Dream, to begin.
We spied a perfect vantage point to the top-left of the amphitheatre and no sooner had we settled down, Prince Alfred (Ben Kernow) had joined us and started discussing the merits of spray-painted marigolds as Princely gloves with my partner’s ten-year old. This lead to a brief, albeit in-depth, debate and was a great introduction to the night’s hilarious antics.
Adapted from the seventeenth century play La Vida Es Sueno, written by the Spanish Shakespeare Pedro Calderon de la Barca, Life’s a Dream explores the story of King Basil (Steve Jacobs) who, having been forewarned by the stars, imprisons his infant son, Prince Sigismund (Tom Adams), to prevent him from usurping the throne and bringing destruction to his kingdom.
However, the King’s attempt to foil the stars’ prophecy isn’t quite so simple, and moralistic questions of nature vs nurture intertwine with the play’s humorous and thought-provoking plot of love and war. Joined by Catherine Lake, Richard Hainsworth and Hannah Stevens (who plays two separate roles so well I initially thought there were two actors), the play throws the audience into another world and asks the question: is it ever possible to escape one’s fate?
Each member of the cast adds a really strong dynamic and masses of character, and provides enthusiastic performances both on and off the stage. Using clever tricks and techniques and fantastic sound-effects performed live by the cast, Life’s a Dream combines challenging questions with light-hearted comedy, from perfectly timed one-liners, hilariously contrived swordfights and scenes of drug-induced tomfoolery.
Touring the South West until the 31st July 2016, Miracle Theatre are worth every penny and Classic Cottages are proud to be sponsoring them once again.By the time the lights dimmed in the sky and the play drew to a close, the cast’s energy had filled every minute with a visual and auditory feast, which was appreciated by all ages in the audience. Leaving poignant questions hanging in the air and an opportunity to reflect, Life’s a Dream is both entertaining and enlightening, particularly for the younger members of the audience, and is a brilliant way to spend an evening.