The Globe’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream opens at Aylesbury’s Waterside Theatre, before heading off on their tour to China and Russia.
I would love to be able to praise William Shakespeare’s play to celebrate his 450th Birthday, after all who doesn’t love a magical romance complete with fairies. Unfortunately on this occasion I can’t. I found myself reading the program during the first Act; like a child in church, bored by the sermon, starts to flick through the pages of a bible.
This production hasn’t really been interpreted, updated or adapted, but even with this classic version with period dress and Shakespearean language, I should have been swept away on an enchanting love story, as love should be able to be felt in any language.
We all know the story, Hermia (Lizzy Watts) and Lysander (Jamie Chandler) love each other but her father Egeus (Richard Bremmer), has arranged for her to marry Demetrius (Philip Correia), who is loved by Helena (Beatriz Romilly). Enraged, Egeus invokes an ancient Athenian law before Duke Theseus (Aden Gillett), whereby a daughter must marry the suitor or else face death. And so the tangled story unfolds…
The fun comes from the “rude mechanicals” as described by the cheeky Puck (Molly Logan), who’ve arranged to perform a play for Theseus’ wedding and venture into the forest for rehearsals, near Titania’s (Janie Dee) bower. Puck finds a special juice that he squeezes into her eyes whilst she sleeps, thus making her fall in love with the first person she sees on waking, which we all know is Bottom (Trevor Fox) who’s been given an ass’s head by Puck. Titania’s eyes aren’t the only ones the potion falls into!
I found Bottom (Trevor Fox) tough to understand due to his strong Geordie accent, even more so with the donkey head on. I would be interested to see how he is received as the tour goes abroad. I’d like to give a special mention to Peter Quince (Brendan O’Hea), Snout (John Cummins), Snug (Richard Bremmer), Starveling (Huss Garbiya) and my favourite the hilarious Flute (Steffan Donnelly) whom are all fabulous in their own way bringing humour and energy to the play.
The play closes with a Tai Chi routine, which doesn’t fit. But then again there is also random outburst of Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You’ during the play which surprised me too.
Compared to other productions I have seen this wasn’t my favourite, however there is obviously an audience for it as people stood up to cheer and applaud at the end.
Just like over the past 400 years, A Midsummer Night’s Dream will continue to touch us all differently with each productions different slant.