A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM
by William Shakespeare.
Shakespeare’s Globe 21 New Globe Walk Bankside SE1 9DT In rep to 12 October 2013.
2pm 1, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 15, 25 June, 2, 6, 16, 25, 31 July, 6, 13, 31 Aug, 3, 5, 7, 17, 19, 20 Sept, 1, 3, 10 Oct.
7.30pm 3, 4, , 7, 11, 12, 14, 24 June, 1, 5, 10-12, 15, 25, 30 July, 5, 12, 30, 31 Aug, 6, 7, 11, 16, 19, 30 Sept, 2, 19, 21 Oct..
12 am 12 July.
Audio-described 31 Aug 2pm.
BSL Signed 6 July.
Runs 2hr 55min One interval.
TICKETS: 020 7401 9919.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 30 May.
Tension evident but also plenty of Ground lings-fodder.
Shakespeare’s Globe encourages the sense of Shakespeare’s plays as play. Playful events, where the scene not the overall action matters and any scene can adopt its own tone without worrying what goes on elsewhere in the action.
It’s especially apt for comedy and is very apparent in Globe Artistic Director Dominic Dromgoole’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which demonstrates the tension behind the apparently bright opening, for husband-to-be Theseus has conquered his intended Hippolyta in war. A choreographed opening makes the point, with armies stamping around and fierce masks, things that will re-emerge as the Mechanicals’ (Bottom, Quince and Co) clog-dancing and the fairy masks.
John Light’s Theseus tries keeping things happy now he’s won but Michelle Terry is more spoils-of-war than bride-to-be. Many Hippolytas show sympathy with Hermia, threatened with death or internment if she won’t marry her father’s choice of husband. Few, though, go as far as Terry, taking off her glove to stroke Hermia’s face, doing everything someone conquered and silenced can to comfort her.
The verse contradicts this heaviness, and so, soon, will the young people as they take to the woods, with a lot to learn. Which they start doing when Theseus’ alter ego Oberon gets to work – with a comic inefficiency matching the thespian shortcomings of the tradesmen’s amateur playmaking.
With their signature clog dance, over-used (why not leave this trade-mark to Northern Broadsides?) and added dialogue which would have had Hamlet spitting, these Mechanicals are both inventively comic (Christopher Logan’s resplendent Thisby, Edward Peel’s Snug the Joiner combining Lion with in-show stage repairs) and irritating.
Pearce Quigley’s Bottom prominently provokes both irritation and delight with his interpolations and repeated mannerisms – though his assured manner is certainly individual. And there’s a touching sense of court and town finding a kind of understanding as the onstage aristo audience begins to find value in the Mechanicals’ efforts, while they assert a sense of dignity amid their crude production.
The fairy kingdom is adequate, the lovers much more as they set out into the forest of life, and become tangled physically in brushwood and their relationships.
Starveling/Fairy: Huss Garbiya.
Cobweb: Tala Gouveia.
Snout/Fairy: Tom Lawrence.
Theseus/Oberon: John Light.
Flute/Mustardseed: Christopher Logan.
Moth: Molly Logan.
Helena: Sarah MacRae.
Quince/1st Fairy: Fergal McElherron.
Egeus/Snug: Edward Peel.
Bottom: Pearce Quigley.
Peaseblossom: Stephanie Racine.
Hermia: Olivia Ross.
Demetrius: Joshua Silver.
Puck/Philostrate: Matthew Tennyson.
Titania/Hippolyta: Michelle Terry.
Lysander: Luke Thompson.
Director: Dominic Dromgoole.
Designer: Jonathan Fensom.
Composer: Claire van Kampen.
Musical Director: George Bartle.
Choreographer: Siân Williams.
Globe Associate Text: Giles Block.
Globe Associate Movement: Glynn MacDonald.
Voice/Dialect: Martin McKellan.
Assistant director: Samuel Wood.
Associate text: Ng Choon Ping.
Assistant text: Emily Jenkins.