SPIRITED performances, an evocative setting and a dazzling light show managed to save Warwick Castle’s Dragon Slayer show – despite glitches which snuffed out the flames of the event’s climax.
The show debuted last summer as the venue’s first ever evening show, and returns this year with a much-vaunted extended finale to tell the story of Guy of Warwick – an English legend whose tale has fallen into relative obscurity.
It began in the stands of a jousting arena, where a lively and funny group of characters roused the audience in no time.
A series of bold jousting competitions was interspersed with energetic swordfights and passionate dialogue to tell the story of Sir Guy’s travels as he strove to win the heart of Lady Felice – with some of the riskier-looking stunts drawing audible gasps.
The now-buzzing audience was then called upon to march to the castle to help fend of the titular mythical beast… which is where the momentum started to fizzle out.
Spectators made their way to the battlements without the advertised horse-led torchlit procession, and later broke into a slow hand-clap when left waiting within the castle walls for 45 minutes before – at last – the delayed finale began.
Sadly, the hyped pyrotechnics were hardly in evidence at all. One particularly fiery climactic moment, heavily featured in the promotional video, passed without so much as a puff of smoke – an anticlimax for those who were anticipating it. Ironically, it seemed the gales which were blowing that evening had taken the wind out of the show’s sails.
But that is not to say it was a failure. The eye-popping light show brought the castle walls to pulsating life as an 80-metre-wide cinema screen. The walls seemed to crumble and collapse under the dragon’s onslaught; animated tales of Sir Guy’s exploits transported us to faraway lands and oceans; and the dragon itself was a menacing and exhilarating presence. Fireworks embellished the end of the show – although perhaps not as many as would have been fired off in less windy conditions.
The audience was in no doubt it had witnessed a spectacular and unique show – but one couldn’t help but wonder what the full, fiery experience would have felt like.
Dragon Slayer runs until August 26. Visit www.warwick-castle.com for tickets and more information.