Much Ado About Nothing & The Wind in the Willows
Long before site-specific theatre was fashionable, Illyria was darting about under the sun and stars in various bucolic locations in order to entertain a very broad audience. The English touring company under the tutelage of artistic director Oliver Gray is notable for winter hibernations and frenetic summers, where the remit, in terms of Shakespeare, is to play the work entirely without cuts to the text.
This year, you can see the hard-headed Beatrice and the misanthropic Benedick play out their stormy romance in Stirling. Though Much Ado, in particular, requires a pretty large cast, Illyria usually restricts itself to a minimum number of actors and some pretty transformative doubling. The sets are also minimal, which tends to focus attention on the skill of the performers themselves.
The kids are welcome too, as the company is also presenting an adaptation of The Wind in the Willows which the pretty parkland setting will no doubt offset nicely.
Macrobert Arts Centre, Stirling, Fri 20 Jul.