In the week leading up to our trip my anticipation for Morte D’Arthur had been building. Reading this article in The Guardian, and then having looked at the Who’s Who and worked out who from Romeo and Juliet was playing who in Morte D’Arthur I couldn’t wait to see this play that I knew relatively little about. When Gregory Doran walked onto the stage my heart began to sink. He explained that unfortunately Sam Troughton who was to have played Arthur had been taken ill the night before. They’d spent the whole of Saturday working with his understudy but were only able to show us Act 3 and would be refunding our ticket money.
What we saw was very good. There was the occasional moment where things didn’t seem to go quite to plan, but with actors playing roles for the first time or playing against other actors for the first time this was to be expected. James Howard who was taking on the role of Arthur made an excellent job of it. We all found that it took a few minutes for us to work out what was going on and why, but I found that once I’d settled in to the story I could keep up pretty well. The reviews for the production are all very favourable, and I’m sure entirely deserved.
On Sunday we went across to Warwick Castle. I’d visited the castle a number of times before, both with my family and on school trips (including a visit or two as a “responsible adult” for my mom’s school) but it had been about 5 years since my last visit. During this time a number of changes have taken place, most of them following the takeover by Merlin Entertainments. The most of obvious change is that the dungeons have now been developed into a full attraction in their own right, complete with it’s own entry charge. I’m not entirely fond of things that make me jump (I spent the whole weekend at Collectormania Midlands watching out for the Xenomorph from Alien that kept hissing over people’s shoulders) and the poster warned that the narrow winding staircases made it unsuitable for people with reduced mobility so I decided to give it a miss. I took the time instead to have a wander round, take some photos and then get a coffee.
The Royal Weekend Party is also an addition since I last visited, this combines models with live actors to great effect. Walking into a bedroom to find a drunk member of the gentry shouting for his butler was most unexpected, but hugely entertaining. The State Rooms were as beautiful as ever, I always find myself staring at the ceilings in wonder. I had never visited the Victorian Rose Garden before, it’s full of so many gorgeous blooms.
All in all it was a thoroughly enjoyable weekend.