Shadow in the Sun
Sheringham Little Thetare
There was a palpable buzz of anticipation in the Little Theatre last night as Kate O'Mara took the stage as Mary Queen of Scots.
We first see her kneeling in prayer, then pacing, like a caged bird, round the cramped quarters where she is held under house arrest by her cousin and protector, Queen Elizabeth the First.
The year is 1568 and Mary has been forced to flee Scotland, defeated and deposed, to seek refuge in England, but determined to regain what she believes to be rightfully hers.
Addressing the audience directly, O'Mara, who has also devised and directed this touring production, portrays a complex woman, at times vain, coquettish, conniving, ingratiating, desperate – but always the proud queen.
The first half ends with the stately entrance, through the audience, of Patricia Shakesby as Elizabeth, resplendent in gold, silver and pearls.
In part two, as events lead inexorably towards Mary's execution, we hear Elizabeth's side of the story: in struggling to resolve the dilemma presented by Mary, she finds herself forced to “strike or be stricken”.
- 1 Meet the man behind a morbid new craze
- 2 Long stretch of A47 closed overnight due to crash
- 3 New operators take over at council-owned leisure centre
- 4 A47 reopens after serious crash
- 5 Renewed objections to demolition of pub empty for a decade
- 6 Norfolk pub gets booked up every Sunday for its roast dinner platters
- 7 Norwich venue offering Afternoon Cheese and it looks incredible
- 8 18 sights you will remember from Norfolk in the 1980s
- 9 Restaurant owner 'excited' as Norwich street is permanently pedestrianised
- 10 Jailed in Norfolk: Flytippers and paedophiles
Using the rich language taken – as throughout – from many original sources, Shakesby makes us identify fully with her inner turmoil, the “care” that is “like my shadow in the sun”.
The small space of the Little Theatre lends itself perfectly to this kind of intimacy and the audience's appreciation was warmly expressed.
If only the ticket prices had not been quite so high (£16, no concessions), more people might have shared in the enjoyment.