Monday, July 20, 2009


Ingatestone and Fryerning Dramatic Club


“Short as any dream.” David Proudlock's abridged comedy has been touring the Ingatestone area, dodging the showers and adapting to various venues.
I caught up with it in the dry but dull Community Club, set on a three-quarter stage with just a couple of sun-loungers: I was so close I could have applied sun oil to the Athenians without moving from my front row seat.
This accessible production by Mel Hastings for the Ingatestone and Fryerning Dramatic Club boasted some fine performances – Laura Bradley's tall and petulant Helena, Ben Salmon's mercurial Lysander, an effective foil to Matt Jones's boy-next-door Demetrius.
The rude Mechanicals included Stuart Hull as a nubile Flute, and Martin Reynolds as a convincing tailor, complete with tape measure and toy poodle.

But the fairy folk had the best of it, with Nick Lupton an outstanding Puck, voice and body equally expressive, and Mel Hastings himself as a commanding King of Shadows.

Though I did wish the cast had shown more confidence in interacting with the close-up and personal audience, this was a charming, lively take on this seasonal favourite.

1 comment:

Eric Ashley said...

What a neat idea to trim the Dream. We hardly missed the fairy band, and Director Mel Hastings kept the magical action moving.
The audience loved the cat-fight [between love rivals Helena and Hermia] and the “hempen homespuns” who rehearse and perform their play within the play.
Nick Bottom bustled on - “ cloth doesn't weave itself, you know” and made an admirable ass, his eloquent braying adding point to Titania's “bring him silently”. Snug, a lady joiner, was costumed Country and Western style, Snout was a jolly tinker, while the well-fed Starveling would have wowed them as Thisbe's Mother.
Despite hit-and-miss lighting, the show looked splendid, with smart casual for the Athenians and tie-dye and ivy for the fairies.
Oberon had a wonderful stillness and an imperious presence, and his Puck was a mesmerising “merry wanderer of the night”. “Look how I go !”, he begged, touchingly anxious for his master's approval, and for our applause as this eighty-minute Dream ended.

Post a Comment