It was very good to be at the Bristol Old Vic last night to experience first-hand the newly-refurbished Grade 1 theatre in action. It’s the country’s oldest working theatre (built in 1766) – and the only example left of its kind.Our good friend Sam Alexander (actually, he’s VERY good friends of our daughters and Felix from their Thame Youth Theatre days)(blimey, that seems a long time ago!) was playing the lead (Jack Rover) in Mark Rosenblatt’s revival of John O’Keefe’s “Wild Oats” comedy (written in 1791!). It’s a play-within-a-play full of farcical situations and with “Shakespearian” mistaken identities and performed by a fine all-round cast. I wasn’t entirely convinced by Rosenblatt’s decision to give the play a “1940s feel” but, nevertheless, it VERY enjoyable way to spend a Friday evening.
Photo: Emily May Smith as Jane and Sam as Jack Rover.
PS: It was impressive to see that the stage now extends through the proscenium arch and a great relief to experience comfortable seats (compared with the old versions!). It looked as though leg-room and comfort was the order of the day in the “Pit” (ie. stalls); we sat in the front row of the Upper Circle (brilliant view) and I suspect that here (and in the Dress Circle and Gallery too?) leg-room had to be compromised slightly in order to maintain architectural integrity.