A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM
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.