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A Midsummer Night’s Dream

by on 10 March 2018

A Dream of a Play

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

by William Shakespeare

Questors Theatre Company at The Judi Dench Playhouse until 17th March

Review by Viola Selby

In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Bottom states that ‘reason and love keep little company together’, and although this maybe true for many things in life, I can find many reasons to love this play. Anne Neville has excellently directed a much-loved tale in a way that encapsulates its main themes of love, marriage, and the power of the imagination, keeping true to Shakespeare’s writing whilst bringing in a few new additions to keep the play funny throughout for all audience members. For example, the casual use of modern language occasionally introduced in to poetic Shakespearean speech gives the whole play a feeling of freshness. Its use by the workmen, in particular, brilliantly rounds off their characters from the others, the most famous of which must be Bottom, cleverly acted out by Anthony Curran. Through Curran’s amazing acting abilities, Bottom is given a modern makeover, with a Phil Mitchel—esque persona mixed in with a hilarious thespian superiority complex.

Dream Q 3
In addition, such comedic talent is also brought in by the other actors, through their brilliantly timed responses, use of body language and facial expressions. James Stephen and James Burgess are flawless in their depiction of the two young men, Lysander and Demetrius, competing for first Hermia and then Helena. They create a comedy duo that have the audience in stitches with their witty banter and attempts at seduction, made even better by the brilliant responses of the two women, perfectly portrayed by Lauren Grant, as Hermia, and Clementine Medforth, as Helena. Whilst the marital bickering of Oberon and Titania is made extremely relatable and realistic by Jason Thomas and Samantha Moran. And although no Midsummer Night’s Dream would be complete without its Puck, made marvellously mischievous by Annabelle Williams, the true star of the show has to be Moon’s Dog, played by either Minnie or Django, both superlative canine thespians, who I am sure now have their own fan club after the reactions of the audience as the dog made its starring entrance on stage.

Dream Q 1
However, although a comedy, this play is also filled with magic that allows its audience to escape from the real world. In this particular production, the audience are transported by the use of the creative genius of Alex Marker as set designer, Raymonde Child as costume designer and Andrew Dixon as lighting designer. Individually, their talents are excellently exhibited. From the fantastic costumes, that bring each character to life in a colourful and highly imaginative way, to the use of only three stage designs that somehow create the illusion of this whole world on one stage. Whilst, when put all together, these three manage to create a variety of atmospheres, exceptionally encompassing the feeling of night or day, depending on the time that particular scene is set. Even at the end, when only Puck is left on stage, the audience are left in awe by the use of just one light fixed on Puck. This simple technique is extremely effective and really depicts the magical-ness and overall artistic talent this play has to offer. Truly a night not to be missed.

Viola Selby
March 2018

Photography courtesy of Questors Theatre Company

Editor’s Note:  Don’t forget to take advantage of the Two For One offer to see Questors’ A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Benjamin Britten’s opera, A Midsummer Night’s Dream is also running currently at the London Coliseum.  We can but dream.

From → Drama, Reviews

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