On an extremely windy Sunday night me and a friend from work headed to Storyhouse in Chester. If you’ve never heard of Storyhouse before – don’t worry, neither had I! It’s described as being ‘Chester’s brand new £37m theatre, library, cinema and arts centre. The restored and revitalised 1930s Odeon building now houses an 800-seat auditorium, a 200-seat studio theatre, a restaurant and two bars and a 100-seat boutique cinema.’
Having never been before, I really didn’t know what to expect. However I was really surprised at just how amazing it was! They have a fantastic kids story telling area that just looks magical, alongside a gorgeous looking restaurant based in the library, so is officially a foodie book worms dream! The whole building is like an adventure, with each corner finding something else and was filled with people of all ages, students studying mixed with wine drinking theatre goers.
We had got a code to get tickets to see the opening weekend of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, I’m not the biggest fan of Shakespeare but fancied doing something a little bit different and I was not disappointed.
If you’ve never heard of the play, here’s how Storyhouse websites describes it, ‘Storyhouse’s Alex Clifton directs Shakespeare’s most popular play, performed both at Storyhouse and the scenic Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre. On midsummer night, four young lovers flee Athens and lose themselves in the wild woodland, falling under the spell of a highly unpredictable fairy king and queen, and their magical world. This riotous and gleeful production runs throughout summer. It’s a favourite of families and friends and makes for a brilliantly social theatre trip.’
And boy where they right! The cast, varying in ages, were remarkable. It was funny and smooth, brought to live with a live drummer and the occasional song or rock guitar. The first half was good but oh my the second half was EVEN better!
I can only describe the second half as an explosion of glitter and laughs. The comedy was done simply and that made it really effective. The performance of the ‘final play’ for the Duke had me in tears. Special mention must go to Adam Keast for his portrayal of Bottom, who’s ‘death’ in the scene had the place raising the roof with laughter. The sound effects and simple sarcasm made this scene a definite highlight.
The whole play was a mix of modern and tradition which helped to make it really easy to follow, even for a Shakespeare novice like myself! I honestly cannot recommend it enough. I don’t want to give any spoilers but the ‘fairy light scene’ (once you go, you’ll know) not only awakened my childhood love of fairies but had me in awe.
So if you’re looking for somewhere to go, then go visit Storyhouse, you can find them on https://www.storyhouse.com/ and definitely book tickets to see the play (from here: https://www.storyhouse.com/event/a-midsummer-nights-dream ). They will be doing some performances at the outdoor theatre, which I think will be worth every penny!
Let me know if you go, I promise you won’t regret it!