Do you believe in ghosts? Well if you didn’t before seeing the Monmouth performance, I’d have money on it you do now. There’s no doubt in my mind that every rebel, royalist soldier and looker-on that lived through those terrible years of the English Civil War have been disturbed from their slumber during every performance of this incredible show.
To say the Marine’s Artistic Director, Clemmie Reynolds, put her all into this production would be an understatement but then if you met Clemmie you’d soon recognise her passion and drive; her focus on the mammoth task of pulling everything together for this award-deserving play has been total and if it doesn’t win an award then quite frankly someone’s not doing their job properly.
One of the more remarkable aspects of this play is the cast. There are a couple of old hands who have done this sort of thing before but if I take the Duke of Monmouth himself for instance, Nick Ivins, who arrived shortly after rehearsals started many weeks ago. He was dropping off his daughter who had a role to play but Nick was doing what all us parents do, taxiing offspring around. But the moment Clemmie clapped eyes on him she knew he was her man and despite having no experience and despite his refusal to even consider stepping on stage, he was persuaded to join the case and there is no doubt Nick aka the Duke of Monmouth was made for the part.
The costumes, the lighting, the film footage, it all added to make a brilliant performance.
But in amongst the excitement of all this some internal building work has started as the new office is carved out of an old storage room. It’s going to be a fabulous room to work in with huge windows overlooking the sea. Then upstairs in the bar there are some backroom alterations as Dottie Kitchen takes up residence. Due to open on Monday 10 July, people will be able to enjoy a lunchtime snack and drink from the Marine Bar along with the best view in Lyme Regis from the balcony that overlooks the Cobb and beyond.
So moving from one sort of spirit to another, the coming week looks like it’s going to see some new faces visiting the theatre, but if you should see a bedraggled or even beheaded Duke hanging around, fear not, he’s probably just looking for his rebel army to join him on his next attempt to overthrow the authorities…to Monmouth!