In the past, whether because it’s too expensive, fails to live up to the easy access of Netflix or it’s just plain too much effort, theatre has tended not to be on the typical list of activities for a student night out, but it seems like all that might be about to change.
Theatre group, ‘Reading Between the Lines’, are local to Reading, and seem to have the key to a previously overlooked student night out. With the final chapter of their multi-award-winning Conquerors trilogy currently showing at the Minster of St Mary The Virgin Church, Henry II, they’re almost guaranteed to leave you satisfied and smiling.
Whilst the show starts a little slow, the second half certainly makes the build up worth your while; and as for the length, the 2 and a half hour running time initially had me apprehensive, but the plot (and plot twists) definitely won me over, and I didn’t find myself checking my watch once. The cast certainly did a good job, but were a little upstaged by the unexpected acoustic song at the end of the play, which had the entire audience completely silent (and a few a little teary).
The story follows the tale of Henry II, fighting against the church on issues of justice, alongside the story of a struggling troubadour. It features love, history, live music and a violent, if a little comical, fight. Packed with all the drama and twists of your night out at union, the play won’t leave you with a hangover in the morning!
The show was performed in the stunning setting of Reading Minster, restored with stone and timber from Reading Abbey. In fact, the show itself takes place at the time which Reading Abbey was first finished, transporting the audience to when, 40 years after it was founded by Henry I to commemorate the death of his son, it was finally able to open.
In terms of cost, most of the dates might not be affordable for the average student, Surrey kids excluded, but the company does do ‘pay what you want’ nights to raise money for various charities, which might a cheaper option. Reading Festival also subsidises their Tuesday evening performances to £10, and even on regular performances, there is still a student discount.
Undoubtedly, the play is worth a watch. If you can’t make it, I’ll certainly be returning for their Christmas show.