Wednesday, 1 August 2012

A Midsummer Night's Dream

Company/Theatre: The New Shakespeare Company, Open Air Theatre Regent´s Park
Author: William Shakespeare
Director: Matthew Dunster
seen on the 25th July 2012

Description: Forbidden love at the heart of a gypsy community brings danger on a midsummer’s night. As the lovers escape, mischief and sensual seduction ensue in a confusion of worlds real and unreal. Featuring the Open Air Theatre’s celebrated fusion of original music, movement and unique setting, this big fat gypsy telling of Shakespeare’s comedic tale is set to be one of the theatrical highlights of the year.

what I liked: Most of all the boldness to take this beloved comedy, rip it out of it´s fairy land setting to throw it between caravan sites and roadworks!
The stage design was amazing and the detailing simply stunning (that shabby white van with the dashboard covered in crisp packets - it doesn´t get more authentic). The actors were good, some were outstanding comical talents ( e.g. Rebecca Oldfield as Helena or Rolan Bell as Flute/Thisbe). It was fun to watch, still a bit thoughtprovoking and definitely the most exciting and fresh performance in a long time.
what I didn't like: The transformation of the plot into the nowadays English and Irish traveller community didn´t always make 100% of sense and was clearly motivated by the success of tv shows like "My big fat gipsy wedding". Towards the end it all was maybe a little bit too much partying and dancing...

verdict: It was sunny, it was hot, armed with water, a sun hat and lots of sun lotion I had a great time while I felt sweat running down my back. The Evening Standart wrote "It won’t be what the tourists were expecting BUT THEY'LL BE GLAD THEY CAME” and that´s it. Maybe not the most intellectual production of this classic play and definitely not something for everyone - but for me one of THE theatre experiences of the year!!! I left exhausted but with a big smile on my face.

1 comment:

  1. A few years ago a saw a traditional production of the Midsummer Night's Dream at the Open Air Theatre. Whilst I adore the theatre, this was probably the only play I found dreadfully tedious. It is interesting to read that just a few summers later, they put it on the programme again, yet in a very modern version. As you pointed out, uprooting plays from the past to today is not without problems. Yet again, your review sounds intriguing and I suspect I would have enjoyed watching it.