Tour Memories #3 - Burton Manor
Burton Manor is another Wirral gem which, if you haven't had the pleasure of visiting, you simply must. The gardens are maintained by the passionate Friends of Burton Manor volunteer group, who do a fabulous job of keeping it looking fresh and picturesque throughout the year. Recent developments on the manor house itself have seen it revamped into a tech/business hub with open office spaces set among the historic building. There's also been a brand new café added!
Off the Ground managed to secure their first performance at Burton Manor a few years ago. It instantly secured itself as a tour favourite with that very first, very memorable performance, of The Musketeers, and we haven't looked back since (well, we are looking back now, so to speak):
Connor W - The Musketeers
"I was playing a spy in one of the opening scenes, who got roughed up by a couple of bodyguards. Elliott and Stuie were the bodyguards, and part of it involved them painting my face with blood. As none of the 3 of us had left the stage before this, the simplest way of accessing 'blood' was to use the cherries from the previous scene. There I was being face-painted with cherries, when Stuie wiped one across my forehead and whispered 'Simba' at me, from the Lion King. I could barely get through my first lines for fighting off the laughter. Professional as ever. As if the cherries weren't enough, mid-way through this fit of giggles, Elliott decided to inform Stuie and I, without the audience noticing of course, that the dagger we needed for our imminent fight scene was not where it was supposed to be. There was no time left for him to look for it without it looking like a mistake, and so what followed was a very frantic whispered conversation about a few moves we could replace the dagger section with. I distinctly remembering telling Stuie to 'headbutt me' through the corner of my mouth upstage of the audience. Miraculously, and this is credit to Stuie's insane fighting abilities, we pulled it off, and nobody was any the wiser, even among the cast who had been watching offstage.
That was quite the opening scene. Professional as ever."
Tomo - The Musketeers
"Crouching Tomo, Hidden Porthos, as this moment would come to be known at OTG. Unable to get 'off stage', I, in my infinite wisdom, to allow the narrative to continue and the audience not get on to the fact that I was in fact still there on stage, crouched perfectly and hid myself, low down, with my cape adding elf-like magical qualities in masking my human form from the audience and looking like a rock."
Dan M - The Musketeers
" I had one of my favourite nights on our first visit to Burton. I mean, being a Musketeer with three great friends and a brilliant cast was a joy anyway, but that night we had a full house and lovely weather. Because we perform in a sunken garden we also had a proper stage (featuring a tree planted to celebrate the victory at Waterloo), stalls and a full gallery around the edge. Perfect.
As it went dark the angle of the lights made the swords very difficult to see which always makes for an exciting second half. Undoubtedly though, the highlight of the night was the moment when Tomo found himself centre stage with no way off either side and realised his character, Porthos, was meant to be hiding…. (I'm not sure the rock explanation fooled anyone.)"
Eleanor M - The Musketeers
"I remember watching Musketeers at Burton Manor, it made me very jealous! Was such a fab show. I decided then to audition for the next tour, Zorro, after a 3 year absence."
Matty G - Zorro
"The most rainy Zorro ever."
Eleanor M - Zorro
"I also remember basically shouting all my lines in Zorro so they could be heard over the rain, the following year!"
Dan M - Zorro
"I also had to shout my lines. THIS IS THE PLOT WE’RE YELLING AT YOU NOW."