The Guild of Cheesemakers, Mayfest Bristol 2012
Cheese, wine and the meaning of life.
This is a show devised by company Stand + Share who invite you join the Guild of Cheesemakers at their annual tasting. Each audience member is seated at a long glamorous dinner table in a stunning church setting, each with a glass of wine (which is topped up frequently, to Itchy’s liking!) and three cheeses. Very important: resist the greedy urge to dig in straight away; tasting the cheeses (in a clockwise manner) is part of the performance! The company take you through a ritualistic tasting of local cheese, bread and wine, accompanied with fascinating explanatory talks from local Bristolian companies who have supplied the tasty substances. Once the audience is settled in this welcoming environment, the performance takes a turn and you will find yourself swept along an adventure that leads you to question yours own views on power, philosophy, human existence and most importantly, cheese. What is the mystery magical cheese 198? If you could hold its power would you use it? For fear of spoiling the show, Itchy will say no more.
What Itchy liked the most with this performance was the total ensembleness (...if that is even a word!) As well as being a highly interactive show, where the audience are encouraged to speak-up if they desire, Itchy loved the way Stand + Share clearly worked closely with the local companies whose representatives were integral to the ensemble of the production. Not to mention the wonderful complementary array of cheese, wine and bread. If you are an aspiring bread baker yourself, there’s a chance to take home a sample of Hobbs House Bakery’s 57 year old sour dough yeast mixture!
It is worth noting that the show is still a work in progress, to be taken to the Edinburgh Fringe this year and the company welcomes feedback at the end. Itchy felt the story itself could be strengthened and taken further; the idea of the show is so genius Itchy felt there is scope for much more. That said, it is still vastly entertaining, original and delicately carried out – a superb enlightening evening. Itchy will never look at cheese in the same way again.