Illyria prides itself on the faithfulness of its adaptations of English - and occasionally French - classics. Each is prepared meticulously from the original work, close regard is paid to characterisation and story, and dialogue is invariably (often entirely) the author's own.
This laying bare of the author's intentions often explodes impressions fostered by generations of bland TV costume dramas and dull teachers. Everyone at Illyria rejoices when, for example, yet another email is received saying "I never realised Jane Austen was funny," or, "I loved the comedy you added to Sherlock Holmes," or even "I didn't know that The Three Musketeers was that dark" - even though we perform vast swathes of the novel verbatim.
The productions are performed with a reduced cast, each of whom plays more than one role (the maximum to date is 17). Inspired by Illyria's Shakespeare productions the shows are slick, physical and imaginative in execution. They are performed in the open-air with just a handful of props and no scenery.
"A MUCH-LOVED STAPLE OF THE AL-FRESCO THEATRE SCENE" The Independent