Elemental Force battles through rain to dazzle resilient crowds at Newark
Crowds gathered once again for another sell-out performance of Elemental Force last Saturday. With the handsome rugged ruins of Newark Castle the chosen backdrop for the fourth performance in the series, the stage was set to play out local history with a mix of light, fire, sound and motion.
Despite the torrential downpour, a large crowd gathered complete with an armour of umbrellas and a steely determination to enjoy the show, and were not left disappointed. We asked hardy spectator Robyn Pond for her version of the evening’s historical events.
“When I first found out we had tickets to Elemental Force at Newark I didn’t know what to expect. Having done a bit of online searching, I knew there would be fireworks and a fire garden; and was intrigued and excited as to what else would unfold on the evening.
When the day of the event arrived and the journey to Newark was heavy with rain, everyone in the car sat wondering whether an outdoor event would be a wise idea, or whether it would be cancelled altogether. Instead, with forceful determination and a ‘have a go’ attitude we decided to brave the elements, and it seems we were not alone.
Arriving just in time, we found the castle grounds bustling with like minded revelers and hurried to find a spot among the wellies and umbrellas.
As we entered the performance space, the sight of the fire garden greeted us.
To be honest I had expected something a little grander but it was nonetheless pretty, and as the flames fought strong against the lashing rain, I found myself more and more enchanted by the fire garden.
There were two decorative large wire stands wreathed in flames and what appeared to be large tea-light candles, which flickered and jumped, but held strong and didn’t go out, and lit the way to the main staging area.
People were huddled together en masse under umbrellas or sheltering beneath the grand bandstand, and the grounds were bubbling with noise and anticipation. There were a few inevitable grumbles about the weather, but mostly the audience was in high spirits.
Characters in full period costume wandered through the crowds, almost like spirits in the darkness. The castle was lit with an eerie blue glow and there was a rumbling hum of atmospheric music.
We waited for what seemed like an eternity for the performance to begin. Would the rain have its way and stop the spectacle? Would the fireworks still make an impact against the misty March sky?
The show itself was no less than stunning. The imagery was well put together, and although at times things needed a little interpretation from an audience member who had frequented a previous performance, I was still able to follow the timeline of local history as it unfolded before me.
With fascinating scenes of industry, in which chimneys rose from the dark accompanied by smoke, and lace was worked delicately over the building, it was the Civil War section which stole the show for me.
When the pikes of the opposing armies met, real sparks flew; when cannonballs roared, flames burst upwards and the ghostly images of ammunition appeared to break apart the façade of the castle right before your eyes.
The audience seemed quite clearly in awe with the story and as a finale there were the most amazing fireworks, which appeared to fully umbrella the open area of the sky above the castle; and the heat from the accompanying pyrotechnics was intense, with not a damp squib in sight.
Afterwards there was a round of applause and even a few hoots and hollers, which echoed through the castle grounds. People had clearly had a great time, as had I. I was thoroughly impressed with having had a visual, aural experience where sometimes you could certainly feel the Elemental Force.
Let’s just say I asked when the next one would be.”
The team behind this dazzling production will return to Chatsworth House, Derbyshire to close the run of performances. [Please note: Tickets have now sold out for this event]
For more information about Elemental Force, or to hear about past performances see www.elementalforceuk.com