A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM
Shakespeare's Globe on Tour
A fresh, irreverent Dream from Raz Shaw at Shakespeare's Globe, just one stop on its international tour.
Working on an Elizabethan booth stage, such as Shakespeare would have seen in Stratford's Market Place, but with costumes and music from the 1930s, eight actors changed character in a moment. A hat, an apron, a mechanical. Shades, fairies.
The packed yard on Bankside loved it. Bottom [Will Mannering ], often played as a pompous incompetent, here gave a delicious masterclass in overacting, Nicholas Craig style. He and Quince [ Chris McGill] had director's chairs with their names boldly on the back. Other stand-out performances from Sally Tatum as a gawky Helena [and a stroppy Starveling] and Bethan Walker as Puck, moonlighting from Berlin's Kit Kat Club, in top hat and black sequinned hotpants.
The Pyramus and Thisbe production, reliably hilarious, was given against a makeshift Globe backdrop – which will be even more amusing on the tour, I guess.
Against the Norman keep of Hedingham Castle, the cast were struggling to engage the audience, especially leeward of the constant wind. Not so much warm laughter here, but the physical comedy, the music and the props - puppet Indian Boy and teddy bear Lovers - helped get the story across, and the closing moments were delightful in the gathering darkness.
Two hours of magic and fun, suitable for all ages and levels of scholarship !