PRIOR PARK GARDENS
This promenade production from Kilter Theatre, in collaboration with A Word In Your Ear, is a happy concatenation of two quirky outfits, who have collaborated before. If you don’t know them, Kilter are a small local company, noted for site-specific productions, with an interest in environmental affairs, among other things. A Word is an outfit that specialises in performance prose: short fiction made to be read aloud. This brings the two together in a highly effective manner. The setting could hardly be better: the lush greenery of Prior Park, with its historic connections, in the dappled light of the cool early evening of a hot day. The performance comprises four stories, each in a different space in the grounds, and each one linked allusively with the place itself, and in turn with the old ‘elements’ of earth, fire, air, and water. Without giving away the plotlines, each story is highly atmospheric in a different way, the imaginative nature of the writing taking one down unexpected pathways of emotion and reverie. And all is delivered by its expert solo performers in the open air, without amplification, in its various sylvan glades –the which cleverly encourages the audience’s silent absorption in the material. This is a production of an originality that expands the boundaries of what is considered theatre. One hesitates to use the adjective ‘magical’, but this is a unique experience that echoes in the memory for long afterwards.
John Christopher Wood