The Lakers

In total contrast to Six, the Musical, on Saturday we enjoyed The Lakers at the Theatre by the Lake, in Keswick.

Wordsworth Grasmere staged this hilarious tale of the merry Lakers, adapted from the original play by the Reverend James Plumptre (1771 - 1832) and set in the Queen's Head Hotel, Market Place and Crow Park in Keswick, and in Borrowdale. 

Inspired by his walking tours of the UK in the 1790s, Plumptre published his "comic opera" in 1798 to celebrate the Lake District and its colourful tourists. 

The play makes many, and often hilarious, references to the early guide books to the Lake District. We especially enjoyed this aspect of The Lakers as we have a large collections of early guide books, including the Reverend Gilpin, Thomas West and William Wordsworth's own Guide to the Lakes. The passion for the Picturesque is very well described, including the use of the Claude Glass to enhance the mood and response to a particular view. 

The terror and awe experienced by the early visitors to the Lakes was well described, as was the passion for botany which drove tourists to visit Peter Crosthwaite's museum in Keswick. Here they could learn about the geology, history and botany of the area. One of the characters in The Lakers is aptly named Beccabunga Veronica (the scientific name for European speedwell!).

However, as well as the wonderful references to books, tours, the Picturesque and tourists, there was also music, singing and lots of humour, and laugh out loud moments. An excellent evening's entertainment.