by William Shakespeare

The Courtyard Theatre, 4o Pitfield Street, London N1 6EU to 7 September 2014
Tues – Sun 7.30pm (Fri 7pm).
Runs 2 hr 30 mins One interval, to 07 09 14

TICKETS: 0844 4771000
Review: William Russell 20 August

Once more into the Dream dear friends.
Adam Morris’s staging of this most indestructible of all Shakespeare’s comedies is not the most magical Dream I have ever seen, but it is very funny and high spirited and rejoices in a splendid Helena and Hermia.

The one, Naomi Bullock is a veritable beanpole, the other, Alyssa Noble, a dwarf – Shakespeare’s words. In other words the long and the short of it. The scenes involving the lovers lost in the forest are hilarious although played with slightly alarming physicality. The plot is simple – Demetrius loves Hermia and her father Egeus approves. She loves, however, Lysander. Meanwhile her friend Helena loves Demetrius, something of a yob, who wants nothing to do with her. Faced with her father’s anger Lysander, who is a bit of a baby boy, and Hermia flee into the woods pursued by the other two where they come across Oberon, King of the fairies, who is having trouble with his Queen, Titania.

Things are complicated by a group of workmen led by Bottom – an amusing Timothy Skelton – who are rehearsing a play for the wedding of the Duke Theseus to Hyppolyta in the course of which Bottom is turned into an ass by Oberon’s sidekick, Puck, to embarrass Titania and the lovers are magicked into all sorts of combinations.

Morris has set it in 1958 at a garden party with the Duke and Hyppolyta as the lord and lady of the manor – a nice enough idea although it adds little to the goings on other than the rude mechanicals being the Am Dram Soc and some rousing rock and roll moments. Things end happily to a dazzling dance routine to Lets Go to the Hop – so much for Now our revels all are ended and that grace note ending devised by Shakespeare.

Nicely played in the round by the entire cast there is a simple set of a square of greensward and a central tree trunk hung with garlands which does the business. Morris’s concept is arguably a bit broad at times and the fairy plot line gets slightly lost, no fault of either Danny Solomon, a sonorous Oberon, or Natalie Lipin, a suitably impish Puck – but no matter, this is a perfectly enjoyable staging of a much staged play.

Helena: Naomi Bullock
Hermia: Alyssa Noble
Demetrius: Henry Wyrley-Birch
Lysander: Benedict Chambers
Bottom: Tim Skelton
Flute: Anthony Pinnick
Quince: Rachel Dobell
Egeus/Snout: Robert Rowe
Puck: Natalie Lipin
Oberon/Theseus: Danny Solomon
Titania/Hyppolyta: Stephanie Hampton
Mustardseed: Samantha Clark

Director: Adam Morris
Choreographers: Stephanie Hampton & Adam Morris
Costume & Set Design: Ele Slade
Lighting Design: Tom Kitney
Assistant Director: Amelia Clay

2014-08-21 10:30:49

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