Barn Theatre, Cirencester – until 18 April 2020
Review by Josie Aburrow Smith
The new Built by Barn production of Ben Hur is now playing at the Barn Theatre in the Roman town of Cirencester. It is a comedy based on the classic best selling 19th century American book.
Those of you familiar with the Lew Wallace book or the multiple Oscar winning film adaptation will remember the story revolves around the eponymous Jewish nobleman who was falsely accused of an attempted assassination and enslaved by the Romans. Running parallel to Judah Ben Hurs life is that of Jesus Christ and as the revenge plot unfolds, it becomes a story of compassion and forgiveness.
This laugh a minute version is the story of an amateur theatre troupe of four who take on a condensed version of this epic tale. It features James Dinsmore as Edgar T Chesterfield, Liam Horrigan as Daniel Veil, Devarnie Lothian as Omar Lord and Bronte Tadman as Crystal Singer. Each of the theatre group then play a variety of characters with quick costume changes and some brilliant accents. They somehow manage to fit in chariot races, sea battles, treason, miracles, backstage drama, some brilliant Egyptian dancing and a very amusing bit of audience participation.
With everything else going on around the world at the moment we sometimes just need a good laugh and the Barn Theatre certainly delivered this. Ben Hur had me laughing throughout the whole performance. I would like to tell you more about the camels and chariot racing but instead you need to go and see this wonderful production for yourselves.