Fringe Box



Fringe Festival Takes Much Ado To Clandon Wood

Published on: 8 Jul, 2014
Updated on: 9 Jul, 2014

By Dani Maimone

This past weekend saw the BurntOut Theatre Company produce a quintessentially British performance of Much Ado About Nothing at Clandon Wood Surrey Hills Natural Burial Reserve.

Much Ado at Clandon Wood. Picture by Dani Maimone.

Much Ado at Clandon Wood. Picture by Dani Maimone.

Performed as part of the 2014 Guildford Fringe Festival, the reserve’s wetland and a family of coots, provided the perfect backdrop for Shakespeare’s best-loved comedy.

The 10-member cast, including director and producer Clemmie Reynolds as the character Hero, used the outdoor space creatively and to great effect much to the appreciation of an enthusiastic audience.

Clandon Wood is a 31-acre site created as a nature reserve for natural burial. It has been planted with more than 40 species of wild flowers and is home to nesting skylarks, nationally in decline and on the IUCN red species list. Diverse ecosystems provide the perfect habitat for a range of wildlife such as butterflies, bees, coots, ducklings and several species of dragonfly, the perfect outdoor setting for a performance of Shakespeare.

Set in the 1920s with costumes to match, the play is engaging and the actors brilliantly adept at handling whatever the elements throw at them. It is an art to project your voice on stage in a theatre, even more so when that stage is made of grass in a wildflower meadow. The cast embraced the challenge, light rain and wind with gusto!

If you have not seen a Shakespeare play before, I can thoroughly recommend this one. There is love and trickery but none of the darkness of Macbeth or Romeo and Juliet. It’s a mix of tragedy and comedy, and the audience follows the love-hate relationship between two of the main characters Benedick, played in this case by (Ant Cule) and Beatrice, (Lydia Huhne) both excellent.

I was truly impressed by the cast and the live music that accompanies the play provided acoustically by Ian Young and Friends, was a delight both before and during the performance.

It is being performed between July 16 and 20 at the Wintershall Estate near Bramley.

The Mayor of Guildford, David Elms. with the cast of Much Ado and fringe festival director Nick Wyschna. Picture by Dani Maimone.

The Mayor of Guildford, David Elms. with the cast of Much Ado and fringe festival director Nick Wyschna. Picture by Dani Maimone.

Fran Hall, Clandon Wood’s operations manager said: “We are delighted to have hosted two performances over the weekend. Some of the families who have held a funeral here came to watch a performance and thoroughly enjoyed it. We would like to thank Fringe Festival director Nick Wyschna for instigating this and the BurntOut Theatre Company for producing the play. If you haven’t seen it yet, I recommend that you do so. It’s excellent.”

The Guildford Fringe Festival runs until August 2. To find out more about the various events that are on over the next few weeks or book tickets online go to

For more information about Clandon Wood Natural Burial Reserve, call 01483 479614 or see the website at

Share This Post

Leave a Comment

Please see our comments policy. All comments are moderated and may take time to appear.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *