The setting for our May social event was the beautiful market town of Richmond, in North Yorkshire. A beautifully sunny Saturday, perfect for an afternoon exploring the town – its cobbled streets, castle, quirky antiques emporium – before the main event. There was, of course, our now almost mandatory pub meal for a good natter before heading next door to Richmond’s Georgian Theatre Royal in the evening.
The venue itself was stunning and a huge part of the experience. Built in 1788 by Samuel Butler and beautifully restored in 2003, it is Britain’s most complete Georgian playhouse. Maybe not the most comfortable seats in the pit, but a gorgeously intimate venue and all the ingredients for a delightful journey back in time. Aptly enough, the play we had come to see was set at the time of the French revolution.
I’m An Aristocrat, Get Me Out Of Here, described by its creators, Bristol-based physical theatre company Gonzo Moose as “swashbuckling fun-packed adventure bursting with the company’s trademark visual comedy, verbal wit and slapstick” was exactly that. Three actors playing over 20 roles, each as farcical as the next. The “plot” is loosely based on The Scarlet Pimpernel but with “Le Grand Pois” as leader of freedom-fighting “Les Petits Pois”, pitting their wits against villain “De Rien”. Marie-Antoinette becomes an Essex girl and Louis XVI, well… a bit of simpleton with a lisp. There is also a camp hairdresser, dancing guards and a carrot. Need I say more? My personal highlights were the mimed coach journey, the rehearsal of the declaration of love with a member of the audience and the parody of Les Misérables at the end of Act I. Oh… and the witty dig at the current government, en passant, at the end. The rousing musical numbers, strong audience participation and very clever use of scaffolding for the set added to the ingredients for 75 minutes of general light-hearted fun.
Richmond is quite a distance from our more usual venues so it was particularly nice to meet YTI members from that end of Yorkshire who can’t often make it to York, Leeds or Harrogate. A venue I would definitely very much like to revisit.
So a very big thank you to Paul and Charlotte for organising yet another successful YTI social event with the usual mix of great company and quality entertainment.