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Outdoor Theatre - The Gold Rush

Mention the Gold Rush and only a handful of people will think of Charlie Chaplin’s 1925 film of the same name. But the silent ‘Little Tramp’ classic was the inspiration for The Rude Mechanical Theatre Company when they produced their new open air show for the 2006 ‘theatre of the green’ tour. An annual event, the tour is representative of their principal mission: to bring professional theatre to the oft-neglected rural communities during the summer. The bucolic settings, however, provide an unexpected backdrop for this unusual and experimental theatre troupe. The company draws on the rich tradition of the Commedia dell’arte and all of the actors and musicians are trained in mime, clown or commedia. Emerging in Italy in the 1530s, the original commedia dell’arte troupes were the first professional actors in Europe and were characterised by wearing masks or face paints and using improvisation. ‘The Rudes’ have retained the Pierrot-style white faces although their performances are scripted in order to enrich the texts. The central legacy of the commedia dell’arte is an emphasis on communicating with the body and the inherited techniques of physical jokes called ‘lazzi’ or ‘battoccio’ (slapstick), hence the nod to Charlie Chaplin.

The latest show tackles the impact of gold fever upon a Vaudeville company in the context of the Yukon Gold rush of 1897. Featuring spoof cowboy routines, music hall performances and gun fights, the sublime promises to be never very far from the ridiculous. ER

Rude boys: Gold Rush in the Gun Garden

Lewes Castle Gun Garden
When? Fri & Sat 7.30pm
How Much? £10/£5
(t) 01273 405730 or 01323 501260