A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a popular programming choice for summer, and I have seen a plethora of different interpretations. This whimsical, magical play offers directors and designers the chance to go wild and conjure up an imaginative world, totally nonsensical if they wish. With this play you can expect the unexpected and Matthew Dunster’s bizarrely captivating production confirms this.
It is an elaborate realisation of the Shakespeare tale… a group of abrasive workmen are employed to perform for the wedding party…a TOWIE-esque crowd dressed in offensive princess wedding dresses. Along the way they are infected by the flower of an alien faced puck and his fairy commanders… Titania is a freakish mermaid and Demetrius a savage gothy animalistic brute. Titania’s attendants are alarmingly sinister bald human creatures.
The set is hilarious… a chavvy caravan is elevated into the sky to reveal an underworld… from which the fairies emerge splashing and thrashing about. In the background a shopping mall poster advertises: Athensfield by Oberon Developments! The cast are fully committed, giving an impressively enthusiastic group performance. For me George Bukhari (Bottom) and Rebecca Oldfield (Helena) are particularly brilliant. Bukhari provokes plenty of laughter with his clever comic timing and Oldfield is fabulously witty and whiny as the lovesick Helena.
It is an artistic production with thought-provoking visuals. The choreography by Charlotte Broom is great especially in the final riotous dance after the wedding. I also really appreciated the spellbinding music which accompanies the action beautifully, composed specially by Olly Fox.
I adore this alfresco theatre… and though this wasn’t my favourite production yet, the atmosphere was as enchanting as ever.