Allons-y!!! Sonnet Walk for the Tour de France in York

Sonnet Walk NickSonnet Walk gravediggersSonnet Walk TimeSonnet Walk Lady of the NightSonnet Walk Master MistressHenry and KatherineSonnet Walks performed by the York Shakespeare Project, 25-29 June and 2-6 July, 5.30 AND 6pm, begins outside York Theatre Royal

Tickets available from York Theatre Royal

The York Shakespeare Project came up with an entertaining way to get in on the Tour de France mania, which has seen our city covered in yellow bicycles and bunting for the last three weeks, with its Katherine and Henry themed Sonnet Walks. My friend Hannah and I opted for the 6pm tour, led by a formidable and très  Allo Allo Katherine, as she enlisted her entourage (us) to help her decide whether or not she should marry the English king. Incorporating extracts of Henry V, the thoroughly modern Katherine marched us around the city walls, noting the French flags hoisted on the local council buildings in her honour, commenting loudly on the English eccentricities of innocent members of the public as they passed us by, and encountering a variety of ‘locals’ along the way who transformed the sonnets into a decidedly 21st century commentary on love.  Two blokes from the Danish Discount Delving company complained about Mandy in the office’s fever-inducing charms, before one of them yelled down his mobile at her:

For I have sworn thee fair and thought thee bright

Who art as black as hell, as dark as night.

Sonnet 26 fell victim to Chinese Whispers. The sonnet that Katherine eventually sent to Henry after it had been passed down a line of fifteen people inevitably offered more than naked thoughts… Other encounters included Time and a girl-playing-a-boy-playing-a-boy-model, the Master-Mistress unrequited passion of an aging photographer. A note of seriousness crept in with a reference to York’s homelessness when we encountered a vagrant woman who, like a sad slave stayed and thought of nought until she was moved on by security. Mostly it was an amusing and enjoyable evening, however, strolling though the streets and along the walls of York. And Rochelle Reynolds, the MA student from the University of York who played Katherine, ad-libbed some corkers. To Romeo and Juliet, when an oblivious car drove through the middle of their Pilgrim’s Kiss – ‘Saints do not move, but you have to, dears!’

More details about the project in the York Press.