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Tonight my husband and I, with our two children Freddie and Daisy ages 6 and 2 went to watch Oliver Twist at Williamson Park in Lancaster produced by the Dukes Theatre. The reviews of the play set in the beautiful delights of Lancaster were enough to strike my desire to book. For a family of four the tickets cost around £50. We couldn’t have wished for a better evening in terms of weather conditions, it was sunny and dry and not a cloud in the sky.
We attended with a picnic in tow and fleeces and lightweight jackets for later on. When we arrived and saw how prepared others were in terms of camping chairs and blankets and prosecco we realised we were clearly not as organised as others. There were refreshments for sale including drinks and hot pies which we sampled in the interval.
Now time to focus on the park itself. Upon arrival at the box office in the park we were met with the imposing sight of the Ashton Memorial which is the crown jewel of the Williamson Park. For us this set the tone for the evening. We were quickly shown to where we could sit with the children and all of us started to get excited about the play and how it would work in such beautiful surroundings. The characters all started to interact with the audience asking families if their children were for sale and if they had any food, this helped to set the scene more for the children than anything else.
The play itself and the characters were extremely impressive. To specifically note a few we really liked Mrs Sowerby, Charlie and the Artful Dodger. All of them put in a great performance. I honestly believe that this play would have been good in a theatre but set amongst the beautiful scenery it was absolutely superb. Photography is forbidden therefore I couldn’t get very many photographs .Therefore I will do my best to summarise the play in words as best I can. The story of Oliver Twist lends itself to a play with a variety of scenes and the production makes the absolute most of the scenery to match the relevant part of the play. The darker the play got the deeper we went into the woods. Both children were engaged throughout the whole play even the two year old and with it finishing at 1015pm too this wouldn’t have been an easy task but it was one Dukes Theatre mastered and appeared to master it as ease. There are 6 scenes set in 5 different areas of the park. There is a bit of walking to do between such scenes however its suitable for prams and wheelchair access. This truly was a fantastic evening for our little family and a memory we will treasure. We were extremely lucky with the weather and in our opinion extremely lucky to get tickets! We will certainly be looking into more productions like this in the future.
NB: We were provided with tickets for the performance but all views and opinions are our own.