"the gross and scope of my opinion ..." Hamlet I,1.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM
MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM
Lord Chamberlain's Men at Hylands
after Shakespeare's own acting company, this enterprising outfit have
it even tougher on their gruelling tours – no cosy inn-yard, but
vast spaces, helicopters and flash photography.
Lord Chamberlain's Men were back at Hylands again this year, with its
sloping lawn, its “woods a league without the town”, to bring us
A Midsummer Night's Dream unplugged, packed with magic and mirth.
Normington directed in a clear, almost intimate, style, with
authentic music and some wonderful costumes helping to transport us
into Shakespeare's world. No scenery as such, and none needed, but
their fit-up stage made good use of its traps, and its balcony, where
Oberon [Oliver Pengelly] and Puck [Morgan Brind] stood to look down
on the lovers' tiff.
girls – Tristan Bernays's troubled Hermia and Thomas Judd's
outraged Helena – were outstanding, and Judd also brought us a
lovely Snout. A cast of seven meant that the Mechanicals were reduced
to three and a latecomer, but we had a goodly complement of fairies,
in fetching black tatters. Peter Bray was an imposing Titania, and
spoke the verse impeccably. I was initially unsure about Brind's
stand-up Merry Wanderer – as if a dearth of apprentices forced one
of the clowns to take the part – but his dry humour and powerful
presence soon won me over.
Peters got to wear a proper ass's knoll as Bottom, and his Pyramus
was suitably OTT; his Thisbe [Bernays again] even managed a moment of
tenderness amongst all the slapstick and the hammage.
end, not only a Bergomask, but Up and Down sung as a charming Round.