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REVIEW: The Sword in the Stone, outdoor theatre at Cowley Manor


REVIEW: Sword in the Stone, Outdoor theatre @Cowley Manor

Apart from the obvious symbolism of knighthood and chivalry, the medieval sword symbolizes power, strength, and courage; metaphysically, it represents the power of the intellect. Having just experienced the outdoor performance of The Sword in the Stone, I argue IKP productions have successfully captured all these qualities, and more.

Ready to eek out the late August holiday evening to the last, daughter (7), son (9) and I arrived on location in the beautiful grounds of Cowley Manor armed with camping chairs and blankets to settle ourselves into our first outdoor theatre experience together.

We were hooked from the off. Through song and rhyme and humour; subtle costumes, accents, and props; crates, flags, a tent and a drum; four talented actors created an army of characters who, with their quick wit and riddled tongues, had the audience in the palm of their hand.

This production, which doesn’t take itself too seriously (nod to doppelgänger jokes), but has an audience who do (watching someone act out four separate roles all in conversation with themselves is as impressive as it is hilarious), has the perfect balance for the whole family to enjoy. There are Knights and love potions. There are strong women and dragons. But there is also enough British history intrigue in there to get brains whirring on the drive home.

Sitting outdoors in the summer evening, as the natural light began to fade over the lake and the stage lights began to cast long shadows across the lawns of the cast and the surrounding trees, listening to my children giggling at the high energy and quick paced script, I realised that this is how late summer evenings were always meant to be spent, as far back as we humans have told stories.

So, with great weather forecast for the rest of the summer holidays, I can’t urge you enough to grab the family, a chair, a bean-bag, and head to one of the great locations lined up for the final productions of this tour. Stretch out, admire the beautiful settings, eat, drink, and be prepared to laugh out loud.

Imaginative, creative, and inclusive... I feel like they nailed it. And so did my kids: “Mum, this is way funnier than a Horrible Histories”

You can still catch The Sword in the Stone at Painswick Rococo Garden on 26 August, Glenfall House on 28 August and Beacon Park on 30 August.


by Rubalie

Explore Gloucestershire
22 August 2019


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