Unless you have been hiding under a rock with noise cancelling headphones since the day you were born, there is no chance you have not heard of Shakespeare. The man has helped to create the English language as we know it today along with inspiring countless movies, stories and even the names of celebrities' children; his influence is inescapable. Unfortunately for most 20-somethings, the name doesn't inspire awe, but rather terrible flashbacks of Year 9 English Lit lessons. But it's time to put that trauma behind me, and what better way to dip into Shakespeare's works than with a young and fun production, a beautiful beer garden and Sipsmith gin and tonics?
Fortunately, that's precisely what's going on at Fuller's Pubs this summer. The group are hosting Shakespeare in the Garden with Open Bar across their pubs. Heading to The Gun in Canary Wharf on a summer's evening, I found their riverside beer garden set up with a canvas, three-sided tent and incredible views over to the O2. A makeshift stage had been created with fold up chairs surrounding three sides. Just as we had sat down, four people jumped on the stage and begin to strum ukuleles; this was our introduction to Open Bar's version of The Comedy of Errors. Split into three half hour sections, the production was a fun whirlwind of Shakespeare's famous comedy. Focusing on the story of two sets of twins who were separated at birth, the play is farcical and the right choice for theatre in a pub garden.
Despite there only being four actors and 19 characters, the production portrayed the story well, with actors using everything from a coat stand, various accents, through to a scarf to bring different people to life. Forget stuffy Elizabethan theatre, Open Bar created a piece that was funny and current, with various political references, audience participation and witty songs. With a gorgeous location and a well delivered theatre piece, Shakespeare in the Garden was the perfect option for a summer's evening.
Shakespeare in the Garden is running across various Fuller's Pubs in London; check listings here.