A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM
by William Shakespeare.
Propeller Theatre Tour to 21 June 2014.
Runs 2hr 35min One interval.
Review: Alan Geary: 19 February at Theatre Royal Nottingham.
A lot of the audience stood to applaud at the end. Quite right too.
This Dream, again directed by Edward Hall – and this is saying a lot – is even better than Comedy of Errors, which all-male company Propeller are touring concurrently, with the same cast.
Timing and musical contributions from everyone are extraordinary. All the while, where ever you look, individual acting is going on from everyone on stage. It being an unselfish ensemble piece, all the fairies – playful, childish, innocently malevolent sprites – are played by anyone free to lend a hand. And this is highly balletic, physical theatre.
In an astonishing start Puck gets out of a box feet first. He’s on duty straight away, and for most of the play is on stage up to no good. He’s even made to eavesdrop on, and influence, an unusually urgent and angry opening scene proper between Theseus (Dominic Gerard), Egeus (David Acton) and the rest.
All the time, in complementary contrast to the comedy, the darker aspects of the play are emphasised; there’s a nightmarish quality to the evening. This production emphasises how not just the lovers’ mix-ups, but unease and upsets in the natural world in general are caused by supernatural machinations. Joseph Chance, outstanding as Puck, is positively dancing, bounding about, eyes twinkling with dark and mischievous wickedness as he presides over the mayhem.
Helena (Dan Wheeler) articulates and projects her part beautifully – which is fortunate, for this is surely one of Shakespeare’s most poetic and beautiful texts. Helena is also the best of a splendid bunch in the climactic confusion scene in the woods. David Acton plays Quince as a comically officious figure with a clipboard and fifties style National Health-type glasses. He also wears a peaked cap, and sergeant’s stripes on the sleeve of his warehouse coat.
A lot of the audience were on their feet to applaud at the end. Quite right too.
Theseus: Dominic Gerrard.
Hippolyta: Will Featherstone.
Egeus/Quince: David Acton.
Hermia/Snug: Matthew McPherson.
Demetrius: Arthur Wilson.
Lysander: Richard Pepper.
Helena: Dan Wheeler.
Bottom: Chris Myles.
Flute: Alasdair Craig.
Starveling: Matthew Pearson.
Snout: Lewis Hart.
Puck: Joseph Chance.
Oberon: Darrell Brockis.
Titania: James Tucker.
Director: Edward Hall.
Designer: Michael Pavelka.
Lighting: Ben Ormerod.
Sound: David Gregory.
26 Feb- 1 Mar Wed, Thu 7pm; Sat 7.30pm Mat Thu 1.30pm The Lowry (Lyric Theatre) Salford Quays 0843 208 6000 www.thelowry.com
5-8 Mar Wed, Thu, Sat 7.30pm Mat Thu1pm Marlowe Theatre Canterbury 01227 787787 www.marlowetheatre.com
11-15 Mar Tue, Fri 7.30pm Mat Sat 2pm Rose Theatre Kingston-upon-Thames 08444 821556 www.rosetheatrekingston.org
19-22 Mar Wed, Thu, Sat 7.45pm Mat Thu 2pm Everyman Theatre Cheltenham 01242 572573 www.everymantheatre.org.uk
26-29 Mar Wed, Thu, Sat 7.30pm Mat Thu 2pm Norwich Theatre Royal 01603 630000 www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk
2-5 Apr Wed, Thu, Sat 7.30pm Mat Thu 2pm Theatre Royal Newcastle-upon-Tyne 08448 112121 www.theatreroyal.co.uk
16-19 Apr Wed, Thu, Sat 7.30pm Mat Thu 2pm King’s Theatre Edinburgh 0131 529 6000 www.edtheatres.com
9, 10 May Fri 7.30pm Sat 2pm Audio-described Sat Theatre Royal Plymouth 01752 267222 www.theatreroyal.com
11-14 June Wed, Thu, Sat 7.45pm Mat Thu 2.30pm Theatre Royal Brighton 08448 717650 www.atgtickets.com/theatre-royal-brighton
17-21 June Yvonne Arnaud Theatre Guildford 01483 440000 www.yvonne-arnaud.co.uk