Regents Park Open Air Theatre is situated just a few hundred metres from the Marylebone Road, but you could be in another world. If you are driving, you leave the smog and congestion, finding yourself just moments later in what feels like the countryside. Parking is easy right outside the theatre – and free after 6.30pm which is perfect for an evening performance. No congestion charge either! If coming by tube, it’s around 15 minutes’ walk from Baker Street.
The theatre itself truly is open-air – there’s no form of cover whatsoever either over the stage or the audience. This being England, you have to come prepared for all weathers. There’s a sign outside which explains that the show must go on, in all but the heaviest downpour, but in the event that the show is cancelled or curtailed, tickets may be exchanged for a later date. And may be exchanged again and again. Some people apparently string this exchange process over a number of years….
Once inside the theatre, there’s a very nice bar and cafe as well as a barbecue. Prices are pretty eyewatering, however. That’s £5.50 for a jacket potato (and £2.50 extra if you want any topping). I shudder to think what the profit margin must be on that transaction. Two very small hot chocolates and one cup of very average tea cost over £7. So my recommendation would be to bring your own picnic …. or at the very least a flask of tea!
The actual theatre is constructed amphitheatre style with a semi-circle of seats, well raked, with an excellent view for all. The atmosphere is superb with the audience wrapped up in everything from trendy kaftans to rugs. A few hardy souls wear shorts but were probably regretting it after the first ten minutes. The play which we saw (Lord of the Flies) was made for an outdoor performance and the set construction was nothing short of remarkable with aircraft debris littering the desert island, and a superb forest complete with fires.
After the performance, it takes a matter of seconds to stroll through the grounds and back to the car. Then a leafy drive through what feels like country lanes in deepest Buckinghamshire, and all of a sudden it’s the hustle and bustle of the Marylebone Road again. A great experience – to be recommended to Londoners, country folk and tourists alike.