Shakespeare 4 Kidz have a reputation for producing accessible and musical versions of the Bard's plays which appeal to the younger generation. They have confirmed that they deserve these plaudits with their sterling version of A Midsummer Night's Dream.
With a very simplistic but stylish set by Jaimie Todd and a cast of just fourteen well-chosen actors, they have taken the major scenes from the play and strung them together with modern language and songs. Odd sections of the original dialogue remain, and these are nicely woven into the production, making them easily understood by the youthful members of the audience.
Noel Andrew Harron's Puck is a mischievous sprite with a very camp manner, but he engages the children in the auditorium from the start and uses this skill to keep the audience involved with the plot. The other role the children seem to enjoy is Sean Luckham's Bottom. Ebullient throughout, his over-played death scene gives the audience the giggles and a huge round of applause follows his final (well, nearly final) collapse.
Music plays a large part in any S4K production and the the score and lyrics are by Matt Gimblet with additional lyrics by Julian Chenery, who also scripted the play and they are Disney-esque enough to appeal to their target audience. The whole show has a pantomime style, with the songs interspersed into the madcap action; however, I am not wholly convinced that this addition does the original play justice.
Directed by Joseph Fowler with Chenery, this is a dream that I'm sure some members of the audience, including my own daughter did not want to wake up from.