The weather forecast predicted a perfect warm sunny and dry evening – we had to put our plan into action, now or never!
A few years ago we discovered the Cambridge Shakespeare Festival, and although tickets can be booked we realised that if you arrive early with a picnic there's are always enough tickets available on the gate. This year we had been waiting for the perfect evening and last night it looked like this was it, so I cooked some picnic food – home-made pasties (feta, cavolo nero and pine nut, and curried squash, green bean and pea); ham; gherkins; tomatoes; some nice bread; home-made banana, raisin and pecan muffins; cold beers and lemonade – and packed it all in a basket. I also found the picnic rug (a Christmas present yet to be used!). We grabbed a shawl, thick jumpers and socks for later when the temperatures would fall.
It's difficult to choose which play to go to, our system is to eliminate the plays we've seen performed before, and then eliminate the venues we've been to. So last night we plumped for 'The Taming of the Shrew' in the gardens of Robinson College. Many years ago it was possible to wander in and out of Cambridge college gardens and quads and use them as short-cuts to cross the town, now in days of more vigilant security they are mostly closed to visitors) so to spend an evening in one of the beautiful college gardens and have high quality entertainment too is a dream treat.
The play was performed on the stage of the open air theatre, the surrounding trees and grassy paths providing the backdrop and entrances. The Shrew has been a deeply unfashionable play to be performed and one to be avoided by any company not wanting to to be embroiled in a heated debate. But this performance brought out the feistiness of Kate and although she was tamed, I think she had also tamed Petruchio, and there was some great slap-stick and verbal banter to keep young and old in the audience happy. "Don't you get any ideas!" the lady behind us whispered to her husband as the actors took their final bow.
The performances continue until 6th September – check the forecast, grab a picnic, select a garden – have a dream evening!