Theatre - The Rude Mechanical Theatre Company’s The Gold Rush

The Rude Mechanical Theatre Company are a touring group of physical theatre actors and actor-musicians who spend the summer travelling the village greens of Southern England putting on shows which are based on the medieval Italian style of acting known as commedia dell’arte. Popular in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, commedia dell’arte troupes wore masks and wigs and were highly skilled at improvisation, meaning that any show, even if it were based around the same basic plot, would be completely different. The genre’s legacy is enormous. Without it we would not have clowns, pantomime, mime artists or Punch and Judy. Shakespeare and Moliere drew heavily on commedia dell’arte themes; Marcel Marceau and Charlie Chaplin are direct descendents of the commedia dell’arte scene.

The ‘Rudes’, formed in 1991, are growing in prestige and popularity. This year they are performing a story called ‘The Gold Rush’, which looks at the impact of the 1897 Yukon gold rush on a Vaudeville company. “The Show,” says director Pete Talbot, “is full of hilarious music hall and spoof cowboy routines, but will break your heart with its pathos.” Aficionados of Charlie Chaplin will recognise a nod to the great comedian in the title of the performance: the act contains a tribute sequence to Chaplin. Everyone we know who has seen the Rudes in action swear that they have cried with laughter: it’s aimed at adults but children love it too. AL

Mouse Over!
Rudie canít fail: a commedia dellíarte experience which is
bound to make you laugh
Ringmer Green (near the cricket pavilion)
When? 7.30pm
How Much? Adults £10; seniors £9; kids £5, pre-schoolers free.
(t) 01323 501260