We went to see "Pride and Prejudice" by the Pantaloons last weekend. This was an open air theatre production in the grounds of Waddesdon Manor, and it was fabulous!
The Pantaloons is a small touring theatre company which puts on a variety of plays during the course of the year. They aim to "recapture an aspect of Shakespeare's drama which the modern naturalistic theatre has lost: the riotous energy of the clown". What this means in practice is that they bring a huge amount of fun and invention to their productions. The actors clearly love their jobs and enjoy working together.They specialise in really funny and clever ad libbing, and they constantly interact with their audience.
During the performance that we saw, the actors managed to weave into the script comments about a hot air balloon that just happened to be floating past, and about the fact that the after-dark illumination of Waddesdon Manor made it look a bit like Batman's layer! They also wandered through the audience (who were picnicking on the grass), stealing bits of food and glasses of wine -- again, all at pertinent points in the plot.
We enjoyed the show so much, that we are about to book tickets for the Pantaloons' autumn production of Macbeth. I'll be very interested to see how they make that play amusing -- but I'm absolutely sure they'll manage it with great finesse!