Sunday, July 23, 2017

Tolethorpe - Hobson's Choice

Friday 21 July 2017.

We went to Tolethorpe again.  Rain was forecast, but we risked taking a (classy) picnic, anyway. Cold salmon, melon, strawberries with trimmings. The weather stayed dry, and there was even some sun.

Each summer the Stamford Shakespeare Company produce two of Shakespeare's plays, and one by another playwright.

This time we saw Hobson's Choice, by Harold Brighouse. The play was first performed in 1916.

It's an entertaining play set in late nineteenth century Salford, complete with Northern accents, and colourful local dialect expressions.  Horatio Hobson is a widowed boot shop owner with three daughters, and they are at the age when controlling them becomes difficult - particularly when Horatio would rather spend his time in The Moonrakers, while they run the business. It reminded me of some of Molière's social comedies, and even has echoes of King Lear, when the daughters have to decide who will look after their father.

This is how the basic situation is described on the Stamford Shakespeare Company's website - 

The hilarious trials and tribulations of bombastic boot-shop owner Henry Horatio Hobson and his three uppity daughters in 1880’s Salford.When Hobson teases his eldest, and most headstrong, daughter Maggie about being past the marrying age, she promptly retaliates by marrying his best boot-hand, Willie Mossop, and setting up a rival shop. Hobson’s future looks uncertain. As a battle of wills ensues between father and daughter, can the hapless Willie triumph?This timeless tale never fails to amuse and entertain in equal measure.

As ever the set was perfect for the play.

The rain held off until we were driving home at eleven o'clock.  Luckily for us, and even more luckily for the cast.

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