Chiltern Shakespeare Company’s open air production of Much Ado About Nothing in the delightful grounds of Hall Barn is a feast for the senses, writes Helen Sharman.

The performance in the new three-sided auditorium is a treat for theatre goers. Set in a mythical land of a bygone age, we are met with a vista of Mediterranean blues, orange trees and decking.  

As the skies darken, this landscape is transformed into a magical, sometimes sinister, arena by clever lighting.

Shakespeare wrote for everyone, and director Jack Sain has totally embraced the Bard’s intent. His direction makes the complexities of the plot clear and accessible.

The cast breathe life into the characters and the words fall from their lips as if they have never been said before.  The spark between Beatrice (Helen Sendall) and Benedick (Ben Sansum) is apparent from their first encounter and their further spirited meetings, not to mention the acrobatics, are a delight.

The passion of Hero (Bess Roche) and Claudio (Tom McGrath) is also palpable. Other three-dimensional performances worthy of note are delivered by Emily Taylor as the evil Borachio, Antony Sendall, as Don Pedro; and the scheming Don John (Joe Powell) was delightfully malicious.

I could go on, but the company does not have a weak link.

This successful recipe is seasoned by an imaginative choice of music, including specially composed songs for the glorious voices of Chiara Carbone, Sara De Flaviis and Eva Fiechter and the  fun choreography of Katherine Skingsley.

So, for a beautiful night out, a picnic by a lake and excellent theatre, book your seats on the web site or call 01494 573559.