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A Midsummer Night's Dream

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
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Gameshow’s production, with Mathew Evans as its director, is a distillation and condensation of one of Shakespeare’s best known works. Adapted and edited it really is a 'one night stand' that focuses on the events in the wood; a magical wood where Oberon and Titania hold sway and in which the lovers are moved and manipulated by forces out of their control.

Played in an open space, with a backdrop of two surreal trees whose interwoven planks hold a myriad of lamps, the cast of four interchange and interweave characters to unfold the story of the pairs of lovers, each identified by a unique item of clothing, such as a hat for Oberon, a red hooded jacket for Helena and a pair of magic gloves for Puck.

Whilst Shakespeare left his comments on the play 'as a play' to Puck at the end, this group begin by introducing themselves to us and the garments that they will use to transform themselves into each of the characters; this enables them at times to leave a costume as the representative of a character whilst the actor can continue in another role. This simple but effective trick heightens the illusion and so we, as audience, are directly involved and complicit in the creation of this Dream

However, when the team, as themselves, yet representing the mechanicals, are exploring ideas for the Pyramus and Thisby play there is a lot of self indulgence and unnecessary time wasting in dressing up and getting props which detract from an otherwise unique experience and interpretation. The four young actors work well together as a team and create some credible performances and if we go along with Theseus in that "The best in this kind are but shadows; and the worst are no worse, if imagination amend them," then this is an entertaining and enjoyable reworking.

The production is very atmospheric with good use of lighting and a soundscape created by Oscar Wood, which for the  most part works well, though a little too loud and intrusive in the early scenes which makes the dialogue difficult to hear at times. The use of microphones and amplified sound for the dialogue between the fairy king and queen however brings an added eerie and other worldly dimension to the interchanges, emphasising the ephemeral nature of the fairy world.

- Dave Jordan


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