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Review: Capability Brown at Kirkharle Courtyard

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Capability Brown – The Eye Catcher
Kirkharle Courtyard, Northumberland
Saturday 6th - Saturday 20th August 2016

2016 represents the 300th anniversary of the birth of Kirkharle’s famous son, Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. The Courtyard at Kirkharle, with its arts shops and food places, is surrounded with the style of landscaping that made Capability famous. Hexham based Theatre Sans Frontieres’ John Cobb has researched, devised, written and now performs in a remarkable one man show.  Adding fact, humour and charm to a fascinating tale of social mobility in the 18th century.

During his childhood, Lance shared a bed with his 2 brothers. They would play ogres together as they chased the animals around their parent’s home. They would walk 2 miles to the school in Cambo through the fields in which Lance would eventually rearrange the trees and add lakes. At the age of 23 he would head south clutching the recommendation of the Northumberland landowners. His increasing reputation enabled him to take on bigger projects for notable clients. Capability Brown was setting the trends for fashionable gardening.

The venue for the show is a classy marquee inside a barn – complete with chandeliers.  This means that the show cannot be spoilt by August’s unreliable weather patterns.

The charismatic hour long performance has John Cobb performing a number of roles. He adds jokes, music and a great ability of storytelling. The end result is a really pleasant and informative hour that celebrates a man that literally made the earth move. The Courtyard is well worth a visit itself and there is the chance to explores Capabilities’ handywork.

The show’s advertising suggests it is suitable for ages 12+ but we saw nothing that would be unsuitable for any younger keen theatre goers.

Details  about the show:

This review was written by Stephen Oliver for Jowheretogo PR ( Follow Jo on twitter @jowheretogo, Stephen @panic_c_button or like Jowheretogo on Facebook 

Cast & Creatives:
Actor/Writer/Deviser: John Cobb
Director/Dramaturg: Aron De Casmaker
Set design/ Costume: Alison Ashton
Set Maker: Tony Nielson
Lighting Design: Kevin James
Music: Ken Patterson
Stage Management: Willy Houwen
Photography: Mike Edwick

Performances at Kirkharle Courtyard take place at 11am and 2pm on:  Saturday 6, Wednesday 10, Saturday 13, Wednesday 17 and Saturday 20 August 2016.
Tickets cost £5 and advance booking is not required. For more information, please contact Kirkharle Courtyard on 01830 540362, email or check out the website at

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