Picture Kendal’s iconic Abbot Hall with its sweeping gardens leading down to the River Kent and then stick a domed tent in the middle of it and you have a fully working representation of some of the best modern playwrights in the UK.
Over the weekend, Kendal played host to the Roundabout Pop-Up Theatre courtesty of Paines Plough, the UK’s national theatre of new plays. A theatre company formed in 1974 over a pint of Paines bitter in the Plough pub, they’ve already produced more than 130 new productions by world renowned playwrights like Stephen Jeffreys, Abi Morgan, Sarah Kane and Mike Bartlett. This ingenious company takes its tent and fine troupe of actors up and down the country ensuring that even the most far-flung or geographically-challenged towns are not devoid of a slice of culture and literary entertainment.
Organised by the Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal, myself and Mr Welly thoroughly enjoyed a perfomance of Love, Lies & Taxidermy yesterday evening, a play by Alan Harris set in modern-day Methyr Tydfil. Actors Remy Beasley, Richard Corgan and Andy Rush performed a word-perfect, fast-paced cohesive tale of a Welsh/Polish struggle with love, life and the ultimate quest for happiness in times of duresse. Humourous and buoyant throughout, the play successfully conveys a thought-provoking view of life in a hard-up town across all generations.
Teenagers Val and Ash experience the awkwardness of first love whilst trying to deal with the financial and marital problems of their parents. The adults meanwhile prove that age and experience still mean that you make mistakes throughout life’s journey. A roller coast of emotion and humour jostling with fantasy and reality, Love, Lies & Taxidermy was expertly acted and narrated and a pleasure to watch. Well done to the Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal – keep the good stuff coming!