Andrew Kay is defying the weather and carrying on as normal at Regents Park Open Air Theatre
There’s nothing more boring than a summer with no sun, well not much anyway. Talking about a summer with no sun is pretty boring in itself. So much so that I am refraining from speculation about the jet stream, concepts of shooting rain clouds and diverting weather patterns and simply getting on with it. It’s bad, we know it’s bad and it’s time to make a fist of it. That said, by the time you read this it could be tropical – one lives in hope.
In defiance of the climate, I have continued to behave in a seasonally appropriate manner, which includes an annual trip to Regents Park Open Air Theatre – this year to see Ragtime.
Ragtime is a big sprawling musical based on the E.L. Doctorow novel of the same name. It’s a saga about a nation of immigrants who come to resent immigrants; there’s racism, sexism and bigotry at almost every turn and it makes for very moving and thought provoking entertainment. Having read the novel I was unsure what songs would add to the experience, but they work, in a similar way to Les Miserables, but perhaps not quite as catchy.
What does work is the exceptional cast who hardly ever leave the stage. A real ensemble work of great dynamism, not the most exciting choreography perhaps, but then fancy footwork might have cluttered the bleak message about inequality and struggle. Strangely I didn’t feel the same about the music, that I thought had the right tone and balance and worked well and there was some particularly fine singing.
What does work at Regents Park is great British stoicism. It was the dullest and drizzliest of days, but forewarned we arrived with waterproofs, a small brolly and bin liners to sit on. Armed with a glass of champagne and, in the interval, a slice of excellent chocolate brownie with strawberries and cream – it was the most golden of summer days. We were not alone, despite the weather and the odd downpour the audience were rapt – in part perhaps driven so by the determination of the company who were quite clearly not going to let a drop of rain spoil the show.
“Regents Park Open Air Theatre is a truly magical summer experience”
Regents Park Open Air Theatre is a truly magical summer experience and one that is well worth making the effort to enjoy.
Ragtime runs until Saturday 8 September and A Midsummer Night’s Dream until Wednesday 5 September for tickets call box office 0844 826 4242,or visit www.openairtheatre.com