The summer theatre in Regent's Park opens with its most frequently performed play. (In fact, thinking back, are there really any seasons that don't feature this piece of fairyland frolics?) This production is a revival of Alan Strachan's Victorian presentation, of repressed sexuality, crinolines and, er , lacy underwear.
On the whole, it's not quite as successful as last year's outing, although it remains a good production and there are plenty of compensations for those who want to risk London's weather.
Although the production has been overhauled, it still contains the annoying, echoing laughter that blighted summer 2000 performances. And Catherine Jayes' jaunty music for the rude mechanicals doesn't sound better the second time round.
A big plus point, however, is Paul Kemp's Puck. He played (or rather shouted) the part last year, but this time round, he has really grown into it, delivering a masterly portrayal of mischief. The other big improvement is in the Athenian tradesmen. Led by Timothy Kightley's bumbling Peter Quince, they provide great comic value.
On the minus side, Gary Wilmot doesn't really convince as Bottom. He places too much of an emphasis on stage "business" and that's not really necessary. For example, in the performance of the "lamentable tragedy" of Pyramus and Thisbe, he makes great play of his arthritic knees, although, he had previously been flinging himself around with abandon. It's just an attempt to milk laughs for the sake of it - and certainly doesn't add to the play.
The production isn't helped either by an extremely over-the-top performance by Martin Turner as Theseus/Oberon. It's no wonder that Rebecca Johnson's Titania wants nothing to do with him.
But there are other plus points here. The young lovers are an attractive set, particularly Benedict Cumberbatch's Demetrius and Candida Benson's Helena. And there is one lovely cameo moment - the lullaby "You spotted snakes" is not often a highpoint of A Midsummer Night's Dream but here it is beautifully sung by the fairies.
A perennial plus, too, is that Regent's Park is always a great place to spend a summer's evening. This production isn't the greatest Shakespeare, but it's entertaining, fun and, on the whole, well acted. Pack your picnic basket and go.