A review of Henry V at the Barn Theatre by Cotswold MP Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown

Last summer I was invited by the chairman Ian Carling of The Barn Theatre in Beeches Road in Cirencester for a guided tour.

I was extremely impressed by what I saw.

Ian has invested an impressive amount of his own capital to create a state of the art theatre with all the latest technology to entertain a 200-seat audience.

The Barn Theatre is excellently located opposite the large Beeches car park which has free parking after 3pm, making it easier to attend for the elderly and disabled along with the rest of us.

The building is attractive with the excellent adjoining Téatro Bar & Restaurant which is open until 10.30pm providing a good menu for pre or after show dining, providing a fantastic full evening experience.

The auditorium offers drinks and snacks which can be purchased during intermission also acting as a tea & coffee room at other times.

I was reminded of the theatre at a constituency event on Friday evening which has had enthusiastic reviews of the latest performance of Henry V.

As I had an unusually free evening the following night I decided it would be an excellent opportunity to attend.

I was met by the business marketing manager Richard Wright on arrival who talked to me about the sophisticated technology and how it helps the imagination and enjoyment of any performance, he also ran through the plans for two future events.

The new performance of Henry V was set in modern dress and army combat gear and was lively and innovative to say the least.

Fantastically acted by a cast of only eight, via clever role changes it seemed like many more.

The theme throughout compared the relationship we have had with France from Henry’s victory at the Battle of Agincourt right up to the present day, by means of clever background film footage which often provoked the audience into instantaneous laughter.

I must say Henry V had a much better way of dealing with the French than Theresa May – beat them in battle and then dictate the final terms.

Shakespeare plays were designed to be experienced rather than read dry in a school classroom and this performance certainly brings Henry V to life.

I am very much looking forward to attending their next performance of The 39 Steps which runs from the July 10 - August 10 and indeed the Christmas performance of A Christmas Carol aimed at children which I am told will explore the character or Scrooge in more depth.

Judging from their innovative approach to Henry V I am sure they will bring a new energy to these timeless classics.

The Barn Theatre is a charity and so it can produce tip top plays whilst maintaining reasonable ticket prices and sustain its academy to train young people it constantly needs to attract sponsors.

The Barn is a fantastic addition to Cirencester’s cultural life and its activities are beginning to dawn on the national cultural consciousness with excellent reviews.

I for one will continue to champion this venture and I urge your readers to do the same.