The World of Legend at The Mint hosted another extraordinary event at the weekend, with two productions of Toby Belch is Unwell, a one-man play staring Sidney Kean. The venue (the Theatre of Wonder) was fitted out, appropriately like a pub, with the other characters in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, in which Toby Belch appears, being represented by miniature bottles of alcohol.
Maria, for example, the servant whom Belch weds at the end of Shakespeare’s play is represented by a bottle of Tia Maria.
Toby Belch is Unwell examines the themes within Twelfth Night but also muses on the fate that befalls actors who realise that they will never play the Dane, ie Hamlet. If they don’t get the chance to perform as Hamlet, then this also implies that they will never aspire to the heights of Othello or Macbeth for instance, let alone a Lear.
Instead the actor will be capped at secondary parts such as Sir Toby Belch or his comrade in drink, Sir Andrew Aguecheek.
The intimate venue works brilliantly to create a warm, participative and slightly unnerving space. The audience, many of whom were visitors to Rye, enjoyed this unique and unexpected evening.
Photo: John Knowles