With mad cow disease and foot-and-mouth sweeping the land, there's good reason to avoid going near, let alone eating, cattle at the moment. Now there's a good reason to avoid donkeys, too.

Across town at the Albery Theatre, Dawn French is playing Bottom and so turns into one, complete with the appendage for which the breed is best known. But French or not, at least the show is still recognisably {A Midsummer Night's Dream::E882985770788}.

The nightmare disco adaptation of the play that has fetched up at the Hanover Grand nightclub off Regent Street bears scant resemblance to it, let alone to theatre as we commonly know it.

I'm all for environmental and site-specific events that re-imagine the possibilities of space, and break with the conventions of traditional proscenium arches and velvet seats. But this ongoing off-Broadway hit that has arrived in London after success at last year's Edinburgh Fringe is more like a ghastly retro-club night with garish floorshow attached than a theatre event of any description.

The threadbare party begins with the audience being held behind an entry rope outside the venue, and treated to a pre-show on-street row between some of the characters it will be meeting later. When we're finally admitted to the poisonously smoky club, a live DJ is spinning disco hits of the 1970s and 80s from a booth at a deafening volume, while various agile (and mostly undressed) male dancers gyrate on podiums. Since there are few seats, the audience crowds around them and are provoked into joining in.

There's at least a half an hour of this, clearly a "filler" to try to disguise how short the evening's "entertainment" that follows turns out to be. From the time the mostly incomprehensible action begins to the time it mercifully ends is barely 45 minutes.

Even knowing Shakespeare's play as I do, I didn't have a clue as to what was going on most of the time. In the almost ceaseless clatter of disco hits (regrettably sung live by a cast who cannot sing) that are employed to tell the story, no discernable narrative emerges; they are merely background to the seeming never-ending series of rows and occasional sexual couplings (bestial or otherwise) that the creators of this spectacle think Shakespeare's play comprises.

The Donkey Show is the kind of "art" that marks you down as fogeyish and old-fashioned to dislike. All right, call me old-fashioned then. But this annoyingly diffuse, often dangerously loud evening is as uncomfortable on the feet as it is on the eardrums.

Sadly, there seems to be no way of stopping it from being an unearned success. Unless the Ministry of Agriculture consider an immediate compulsory culling, that is, on the grounds of mad donkey disease.

Mark Shenton