Somerset families will be packing their picnics and rugs on Bank Holiday Monday 27th May to see award-winning outdoor theatre company Illyria as they bring their fabulous new adaptation of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves to the Merlin Theatre, Frome.
Now in its 28th year, professional touring company, Illyria, has delighted audiences the length and breadth of the UK, as well as in the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, France, the United States and Canada performing some of the most well-loved productions on offer. The company has won 4 international “Best Performance” awards and attracted numerous 5-star and “Critics’ Choice” reviews for the lively clarity of its approach not just to its child-focused shows, but also to Shakespeare’s plays and to some refreshingly quirky English classics adaptations as well as even Gilbert & Sullivan musicals.
In this refreshing and colourful family show, adapted from ‘One Thousand and One Nights’ (aka ‘The Arabian Nights’), a young Ali Baba stumbles across an enchanted cave and overhears the magic words that open it: “Open Sesame!”. Inside the cave he finds untold amounts of gold and jewels…but what will he do when he is chided for stealing? Can he keep the secret from his jealous brother? And when the Robber King comes looking for the missing treasure supported by an army of 40 angry thieves will he and his family survive?
With the humour and comedic panache of some of this country’s liveliest story-tellers, the show is notable for a scene where one character polishes off 37 of the thieves single-handed, with a cast of just five actors!
“Illyria has given more performances to more people across a wider area than any other open-air touring theatre company, proudly maintaining professional Equity-compliant productions for over a quarter of a century. We’re really pleased to be performing at the Merlin and can’t wait see how the audience reacts!” says Artistic Director Oliver Gray.
Merlin director, Claudia Pepler, adds “This is a welcome home to old friends for us. We are so lucky that as Illyria travel through Britain they come to us and bring alive the area’s only amphitheatre. Our outdoor theatre, named ‘Ecos’, was brought about by the immense support of local companies, quarries and the community so it always a celebration for us to have it filled with the colour and sound of actors, costumes and stories. Add that the picnics, blanket, fast and furious madcap actors and children’s laughter and it makes for a perfect afternoon.”
Illyria will be back again in June and July with Shakespeare’s The Tempest, and original and musical version of Mary Shelley’s ever-popular Frankenstein.
Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves takes place on 27th May at 2pm; tickets start at £9.50 for children and can be bought in person at the theatre, via the box office on 01373 465949 or on online www.merlintheatre.co.uk