A guaranteed ‘knight’ of good fun with Oddsocks!
Oddsocks are back with their ambitious new re-telling of classic English tale of ‘The Legend of King Arthur’. Expect vibrant characters, live music and laughter-a-plenty in their national tour, which begins in November 2015.
Telling the story of one of the most intriguing and fascinating English legends is an exciting project for Derby-based Oddsocks Productions. After the success of their last winter tour ‘The Wind in the Willows’ this winter sees Oddsocks turn their exceptionally funny hands to the gripping adventures of the Knights of the Round Table.
Oddsocks Productions was set up 26 years ago by Andy Barrow and Elli Mackenzie and is a critically acclaimed nationally touring theatre company who take classic texts and create bold, challenging, innovative and interactive theatre to be enjoyed by all. Twice a year they tour nationally indoors and outdoors, taking their work out to diverse communities across the UK.
Elli Mackenzie, the writer of their latest tale and playing the wicked Morgan Le Fey in the production, describes why King Arthur is relevant to audiences today: “The traditional story says that Arthur is waiting to return and save Britain when Britain needs him but ultimately, I think Arthur stands for hope. I think Britain needs a bit of hope at the moment. There’s a lot of depressing news about the country and I hope the story shows that if you have a code of conduct, ethics and values, like Arthur learns, then we can’t go wrong we can only go forward.” As well as touring nationally, Oddsocks also run their Open Doors scheme which aims to reach out to disadvantaged groups and engage, inspire and entertain them live theatre. Since November 2014 they’ve been working with national family support charity Home-Start to provide unique theatre experiences for disadvantaged local families.
Elli continues to describe why ‘The Legend of King Arthur’ is such an exciting story to share: “King Arthur has it all! It has a hero, it has love, dragons, fights, glory, history, humour, poignancy…it’s got everything!”
You can find out more about Oddsocks Productions by visiting their website http://www.oddsocks.co.uk.
Here’s an interview with Elli Mackenzie, Oddsocks Producer and taking the role of Morgan Le Fey (this interview was provided by Oddsocks) :
Can you tell me a bit about Oddsocks?
We’re a family-run touring theatre company based in Derby, we tour twice a year to venues all over the UK and Channel Islands with our comedy adaptation of classic stories and plays.
You’ve been going for 26 years this year – why have Oddsocks stood the test of time?
I think it’s because we’ve grown with our audience; we still have people who’ve seen us for the entire 26 years but we’re also now entertaining their children and grandchildren. We have a real familiarity and loyalty to and from our audiences. We also change our actors they bring fresh ideas to the table. Andy and I have our own sense of humour but we work with young actors with different comedy influences, they bring a fresh approach and we’re so inclusive to their ideas. We continue to grow and change whilst maintaining our core purpose and I think that’s the secret to longevity of entertainment.
So you’ve written and are performing in King Arthur? How do those roles interlink?
They interlink well because I write what I’m going to perform! Although, I’ve found that the hardest element – writing for myself – but it shortens both processes. Writing as an actor means I have a feel for what is going to work o nstage. So, from my experience as an actor informs my writing. Also, it shortens the process as an actor because I’m so familiar with it. It helps me learn my lines!
How did you go about writing the adaptation?
For me, I always start by writing characters. I’m lucky because Andy approaches things from a plot perspective so he can help to ask all the difficult questions that need asking. So, when I actually listen to him and get the plot written, the characters are already fleshed out and familiar! It has to appeal to such a wide audience and so telling the right story is really important.
What makes King Arthur such an exciting story to share?
King Arthur has it all! It has a hero, it has love, dragons, fights, glory, history, humour, poignancy…it’s got everything!
What are you most looking forward to about the tour?
Not having to decide what to make for tea for my children! I enjoy the technical side of theatre, the fresh reactions to jokes, getting excited backstage waiting for a big moment that you know is a success. I just love working in theatres, I feel at home there.
It’s such an iconic story – are you daunted by that?
Daunted in as much as you can spend years and years studying everything to do with King Arthur. So, I had to realise is that King Arthur is a legend and didn’t necessarily exist! I’m aware there may be some King Arthur purists who come along, just like our Shakespeare shows, but there will be enough that’s recognizable. There’s some really classic themes and characters that remain throughout, regardless of what version you read. In between the iconic scenes like the sword in the stone and Excalibur there’s free rein to have fun!
Why have you chosen to adapt King Arthur? Do you think it’s got a message for audiences today?
Our version definitely has. The traditional story says that Arthur is waiting to return and save Britain when Britain needs him but ultimately, I think Arthur stands for hope. I think Britain needs a bit of hope at the moment. There’s a lot of depressing news about the country and I hope the story shows that if you have a code of conduct, ethics and values, like Arthur learns, then we can’t go wrong we can only go forward.
The Legend of King Arthur tours from 26th November 2015. For full tour dates visit http://www.oddsocks.co.uk.