Reviewed by Amanda Hayes
After a brilliant afternoon at the Family Open Day at The Hawth in Crawley we headed off to the amphitheatre for the production of The Emperor’s New Clothes. The production was performed by Illyria, an open-air touring theatre company, recently having had huge success with shows such as Danny the Champion of the World and George’s Marvellous Medicine.
The performance follows the traditional story of The Emperor’s New Clothes written by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen. The Emperor loves clothes and likes to show off his new outfits at the parade held every month. He is a good Emperor but not especially clever so after wrongly accusing the Royal Tailor of producing bad designs he sets about undertaking a competition to find a new tailor. He soon finds himself duped by two weavers who promise the emperor a stunning new suit of clothes.
The weavers tell the Emperor that only the intelligent can see the cloth they are weaving and not wanting to seem stupid he agrees that he can see the beautiful thread whilst the devious weavers produce nothing.
The show ends with hilarious consequences which I will not divulge but rest assured you will be laughing!
The strong characters in Illyria’s performance really bring this show to life and the humour is contagious. We had never been to the amphitheatre before and it added a wonderful backdrop. In a wooded clearing, the stepped area means everyone has a perfect view of the stage and the actors can move around the audience should they desire. I really recommend watching a performance here, don’t forget to bring chairs, blanket and a picnic and settle in for an entertaining couple of hours that felt a million miles away from the standard theatre experience.
Illyria’s production of The Emperor’s New Clothes will appeal to all ages and the audience was completely diverse with several large groups, however every single person was entertained throughout.
I highly recommend this show whether you are looking for an evening out for a family, a couple or a group of friends you will have a brilliant time.
For other shows at The Hawth in Crawley visit hawth.co.uk.
The Hawth, Hawth Avenue, Crawley, Sussex, RH10 6YZ | 01293 553636