Have you discovered the English Theatre Company?
After landing in London after a lovely week’s break in Portugal with family, I was feeling energised and excited to get back to discovering London. Being away from my normal routine for a while often makes me realise the things I should do when I get back. And after three years of officially being a Londoner I realised I still have so much more to do and see in all corners of the city.
So it was in good timing that Chris from the English Theatre Company (ETC) dropped me an email about their new performances Waiting on Shakespeare and A Bit of Hitch. As somebody who likes to think of themselves as a keen follower the arts/theatre world I was surprised I hadn’t come across these guys before. After reading up on their history I realised why: although ETC have performed almost 10,000 performances, seen by over 2 million people, they had been touring Europe (Belgium, France, Holland, Portugal, Spain and even Algiers) and were invited to perform in the European Theatre Festival, but they were yet to visit London, until now.
Meet the cast: Amy Berry, Nick Potts and Joshua Tobias Mills. Who each play numerous characters and bounce off each other like they’ve known each other their whole lives.
Meet the directors: Michael Harry & Chris Jeffries
First of all we went to see Waiting on Shakespeare. It was an intimate audience but I honestly felt like I was in the Globe Theatre. It is a unique script, with the characters each rehearsing different plays for Shakespeare to see (with the ultimate goal to perform in front of her majesty the Queen). As a big Shakespeare fan this one was a joy to watch as it was a mash-up of Shakespeare’s most famous plays. It is comical, witty and best of all it has scenes of improvisation (free-style rhyming couplets? These guys nailed it) plus audience participation which some people love or find scary, either way you’ve taken part in a new experience.
A few nights later we went back for more to watch A Bit Of Hitch performed by the same cast. This one was completely different and to me, really highlighted how versatile and talented the 3 actors are. This play is definitely for the film fans as it includes Hitchcock’s most famous moments and includes some hilarious scenes in slow-motion and other filmic moments. Amy went from being a young Shakespearian boy in Waiting on Shakespeare to being a sassy spy with a French accent. Joshua acts out countless parts (literally, I could not begin to count them), and the time he takes to change outfits in record time was also pretty impressive.
All in all, I am very happy to have stumbled across this fantastic theatre group and the Courtyard Theatre which is where they will be for the next few months. I urge you to go along, get a drink from the bar and get lost in a play for an evening.
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