Review: Oddsocks - Macbeth At Harlow Carr
Elaine Annable, Music Correspondent
Touring indoor and outdoor venues in all seasons, Oddsocks has become established as one of the UK's best-loved touring theatre companies. They take classic texts, often Shakespeare and create bold, innovative and interactive theatre.
As an Oddsocks first timer I came prepared for a highly entertaining evening full of audience interaction and anarchy, I was not disappointed.
Right from the start the mood was set when the audience was encouraged to give a good natured communal 'tut' to latecomers who took to their camping chairs literally seconds before the start of the play.
Anyone was fair game: a woman who tried to make her way unobtrusively to the toilet through a maze of deckchairs which slowed her progress, was ritually humiliated in the nicest possible way and another caught tweeting had her phone confiscated and her tweets read out to the assembled masses.
There were several running jokes throughout the evening and event sponsors KPMG must have been thrilled at the liberal use of their name - £1000 a name check, one actor joked. Current political events, references to Brexit Britain and 'austerity' were also dropped into the mix much to everyone's amusement.
The set, a steampunk world of recycled industry and technology inspired design, was highly visual and worked surprisingly well in the beautiful outdoor setting of the Royal Horticultural Society Garden, Harlow Carr.
A hugely talented cast of 6 who played multiple roles kept us royally entertained with performances of great energy, humour and wit, which included their own unique take on some of the classic pop / rock songs from the past 40 years.
But the real measure of their collective talent came midway through the second half when all power to the stage was lost. Unfortunately the backup generator failed to come to the rescue, so the performance had to continue without lighting, music or sound effects.
It was a classic 'show must go on moment' and the ensemble rose to the challenge brilliantly. A torch was produced and one actor ad libbed that 'the sound effects had gone all acoustic'.
The cast worked incredibly hard to keep the momentum going right through to the final show stopping song 'Bat out of Hell' when they were given a standing ovation.
This event has been running for several years as part of the Harrogate International Festival and on the strength of tonight's performance I'd highly recommend that you catch Oddsocks on one of their many tours or when they return to RHS Garden Harlow Carr next year. Just remember to wait until the interval before going to the toilet!
Review: Oddsocks - Macbeth At Harlow Carr, 18th July 2016, 15:40 PM