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May 24, 2014

Elle and Abby blonds wShakespeare in the Park, now in its 52nd year, has become a tradition in Romford though this year’s production did not look as if it would get off the ground at first.
The huge headache for director Vernon Keeble Watson was when low attendances at the audition left a lot of roles unclaimed.
However, after a number of appeals, actors have come forward and the production now has a full compliment, though Vernon has had to use the 17th century ‘Master of the Revels’ censorship guide to fill one part.
In Shakespeare’s day women were not allowed to appear on stage, so he has applied Shakespeare’s gender swapping to make it work.
This year the play is Twelfth Night which will be performed the last two weeks of June and under the stars in the atmospheric setting of the Rockery by the lake in Raphael Park.
The story requires twins, a brother and sister as the hub of the play, but these have proved the most difficult to fill.
RST Twelfth Night poster and flyer smaller lettering.inddThen the door opened and in came Abby Boyer and Eleanor Burgess, just right for the twin brother and sister – but with a few additions! (pictured top:  Eleanor as Viola and Abby as Sebastian)  
Abby, 17 and Eleanor, 16 are both college students and play Sebastian and Viola respectively, and it is here it starts to get complicated.
Surviving the Bard’s shipwreck leaves the twins thinking the other has drowned, so Eleanor’s Viola, disguises herself as her brother Sebastian.
After meeting the Lady Olivia, Sebastian (Eleanor/Viola) becomes the target of the Lady’s instant passion, which leads to the confusion as there are now two Sebastian’s on the loose, and one’s a woman.
Abby is adhering to the 17th century censorship and playing Sebastian throughout the play and Eleanor’s Viola/Sebastian is revealed when the twins meet and Eleanor admits she is Viola.
Confusion clears and the result is a happy ending.
For both young women, this is to be their first Shakespearean experience, and both are excited to say the least.
Writtle College student Abby, admits to being a tomboy so being Sebastian is not too much of a problem: “It is a great story,” she said. “I have never been involved in anything like this before and really enjoying it.”
Eleanor, a student at Havering Sixth Form College is ploughing through history and politics and also enjoying the experience: “I want to be an actor anyway, and bringing my character to life is exciting.!
Vernon Keeble-Watson wTwelfth Night’s seven performances are subject to clement weather and start Thursday June 19 to Saturday June 21 at 8pm, with a matinee on Sunday June 22 at 3pm, and three evening performances the following Thursday June 26 to Saturday 28, again starting at 8pm.
Tickets are £10 with concessions and available at the door or online on
One of the Bard’s funniest works, director Vernon Keeble Watson (pictured right) has injected his own elements of wit and fun into the performances, which promise an atmospheric evening of cultural mirth and traditional interval tomato soup and hunk of bread.
How can you afford to miss it?




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