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Capability Brown: The Eye-Catcher

Presented by Cobb & Co
Capability Brown: The Eye-Catcher


A one-man theatre show based on the life and works of Capability Brown, Britain's first professional gardener, in celebration of the 300th anniversary of his birth.

Devised and acted by John Cobb, Capability Brown – The Eye-Catcher is an affectionate, comic and visually stimulating appraisal of the life and gardens of Lancelot Brown. John Cobb says: “What a fantastic journey! It’s been a year and a half since I was inspired by John Phibbs (acknowledged authority on Georgian landscapes and Capability Brown) to embark on research and creation on this extraordinary Northumberland figure and the 18th century world he lived in. A wealth of intriguing characters have emerged to play alongside ‘Capability’ himself. What a pleasure. I hope you enjoy it. I certainly do!’

Born at Kirkharle, Northumberland, Brown rose to fame through his connections via Stowe, Hammersmith and Hampton Court, where he meets and is employed by the King. The performance follows Brown’s life as he mixes with the outlandish and outrageous gentry of 18th century England, criss-crossing the land as his particular style of renovating country gardens caught on and changed the face of the English landscape. We see his relationship with his wife Biddy and remorse at being unable to return to Northumberland. His rivalry with the King’s architect is explored, as well as his relationship with sundry clients from the upper classes. The development of Capability’s style, his introduction of the Ha-ha and the place of slavery in 18th century England are all touched upon. John Cobb also takes on the roles of Lord Cobham of Stowe, the first Duchess of Northumberland, “Farmer George” the King, the flamboyant Clive of India and Brown’s arch enemy, Sir William Chambers.

With evocative music from the period and a wealth of visuals, songs and personalities, audiences will be entranced by the life and times of Lancelot Capability Brown.

The show lasts 60 minutes and is suitable for ages 12+ years.