This year’s much anticipated Play in the Parque took place on Friday, July 1 and, once again, was a roaring success.
Written by Karen Whitten and produced by Aljezur International School, the outdoor theatre performance has become a much-loved annual event in the Algarve calendar and is performed in the idyllic forest setting of Parque de Merendas near Barão de São João. The last show was in 2019 and so the atmosphere was electric as the crew who donate their time and energy were reunited after a two-year hiatus.
“Around the World in 80 Minutes … ish” took the audience on a journey through famous fictional countries, meeting many colourful characters who seemed to be experiencing conflict of some sort.
Phileas Fogg and his hippy brother Sham the Sham were confidently played by brothers Floris and Pepijn Jones who are studying A level Drama at Aljezur International. Their companion and navigator, Passpartout, was hilariously played by fellow student, Gil Costa Lobo, who is also studying A level Drama. In an attempt to avoid the “baddies”, he appeared throughout the play in a series of outlandish costumes, announcing to the audience each time that he was “incognito”.
The cast of over 70 students, parents and teachers played a wide array of characters, from The Simpsons and Flintstones to Freddie Mercury and the Spice Girls. Stuart Blyth flew in from Scotland to play Santa Claus and his children, Gordon and Dorothy, played Mrs Claus and their son Nicholas, who insisted vehemently on being called “Nick”.
This year, the children of Barlavento Primary School also joined in the performance with a moving dance to the song which made Ukraine the winners of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.
The costumes, created by Susie Mayes, were magnificent and, with an audience of over 300 people, the Play in the Parque is feelgood, family fun at its best. The final message of this year’s show is that it is up to us all as individuals to set the example to our children that there is always a way to avoid conflict and we must strive to find that way … always. As Sham the Shaman kept reminding us, “Give Peace a Chance”.