Merchant’s tale well balanced

Illyria bring their outdoor production of The Merchant of Venice to the packed grounds of Lytham Hall
Illyria bring their outdoor production of The Merchant of Venice to the packed grounds of Lytham Hall

THE MERCHANT OF VENICE Lytham Hall

A full house of 500 revelled in glorious summer conditions and a top-class typically energetic performance from Illyria’s versatile cast.

Illyria bring their outdoor production of The Merchant of Venice to the packed grounds of Lytham Hall

Illyria bring their outdoor production of The Merchant of Venice to the packed grounds of Lytham Hall

Playing 17 roles between them, the cast of five use the two heights of the stage and deft costume changes most comically amidst the serious issues of Shakespeare’s play.

David Sayers as Shylock excites both distaste and sympathy in turn from an audience who were silent and attentive, particularly to his soliloquies.

Beau Jeavons-White uses the power of his voice to considerable effect as Antonio and has a nice line in campness when playing a woman.

Nicola Foxfield, Chris Wills and Katy Helps too all ensure that every word is heard by picnickers well back from the stage, each with a flourish to their performances well suited to an open air stage.

The trial scene in The Merchant is always gripping, but afterwards this cast sustain the momentum of the play right to the end, as ridiculous mistaken identities and disguises are finally unravelled.

It is with all the small touches that director Oliver Gray shows his experience and his take on the play as a funny story which deals with serious matters provided a brilliantly balanced production which the Lytham Hall audience loved.

Lytham Hall’s open air season continues on with a double header weekend on Saturday and Sunday, August 18 and 19, with The Hound of the Baskervilles and The Pirates of Penzance.

Closing the season will be The Adventures of Dr Doolittle on Sunday, August 26.