A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Open Air Theatre
If it's summer, it must be time for the Open Air Theatre at Regent's Park to open. And it must also be time for that old favourite - A Midsummer Night's Dream. This year is no different and the Open Air company doesn't disappoint with a performance which will warm many an audience on many a cold summer night.
This year's Dream is a revival of last year's successful production from Rachel Kavanagh, and Shakespeare's classic comedy certainly works its magic despite the weather being a long way from a midsummer ideal on the night of this review.
A Midsummer Night's Dream has undergone a massive overhaul over the past few years. Once regarded as nothing more than a merry romp, recent productions have tended to examine the latent sexuality in the play and the nature of dreams and imagination. There is certainly no latent sexuality in this production - Demetrious and Lysander are barely one step away from being rapists and this is a sexually-knowing Helena in the extreme. Nor are there any subtle Freudian overtones. This is unadorned Shakespeare - bawdy, witty, energetic and great fun to watch.
The cast certainly gets into the spirit of the play; if occasionally the verse speaking gets a trifle hit and miss at times, it doesn't really matter as the play races along with great vigour.
The Mechanicals in particular are excellent. Ian Talbot is a natural Bottom and looks like he's been playing it half his life (probably not too far from the truth), but Andy Sims Flute gives as good as he gets as a particularly feisty Thisbe in the lamentable “comic tragedy”.
A Midsummer Night's Dream makes for a thoroughly enjoyable evening and, as ever, the Open Air setting is magical.