A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM (AS YOU LIKE IT)
after William Shakespeare or Krymov’s Dream.
Barbican Theatre Silk Street EC2Y 8DS To 15 November 2014.
Runs: 1hr 20min One interval.
TICKETS: 0845 120 7550.
Review: Carole Woddis 13 November.
Subversive, irreverent, one person’s vision.
Not so much Bottom’s dream as a Krymov Dream, like Simon Stone’s recent Belvoir Company Wild Duck in this same theatre, this reading of Shakespeare’s popular comedy, first commissioned for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s World Shakespeare Festival in 2012, this is wholly iconoclastic.
Sitting alongside other radical reworkings, Krymov’s Dream then might have seemed par for the course. But the Dream does seem to lend itself particularly to radical treatment, in, for example, Peter Brook’s Dream late sixties production, Robert Lepage’s mud-drenched and Jonathan Miller’s darkly psychological versions and most recently Tom Morris’s delightful rude mechanicals and puppet version from Bristol.
In a sense, Krymov’s Dream is Morris’s writ large. Krymov, whose Opus 7 in the summer was revelatory, has extracted those bits of the Shakespeare that equate to his own interests, slimming it down to the Mechanicals and the story of Pyramus and Thisbe as a paradigm of the art of theatre-making.
As in the second half of Opus 7, giant puppets are his story-telling vehicle. Dispensing at the start with the forest and any hint of fairies, everything else runs in parallel with the original Dream including smartly dressed guests intervening at intervals, but all adapted to Krymov’s own vision.
Krymov keeps mostly to the spirit of the original but his especial tool in trade – subversion – is here used, if with a light but often naughty touch, through contemporary jokes (in the surtitles) and visual inventions – one of the most outrageous being Pyramus sprouting a vast member to the accompaniment of a Schubert song, rationalised to the audience as the song being about `watering the lily’, an illusion here to Thisbe.
Krymov’s Dream, crammed with surreal surprises also includes an adorably animated and loyal terrier and a sense of theatrical convention in flight as any illusion of reality other than the chaotic, inspirational here-and-now which is the reality of theatre-making, is constantly broken.
Yet, unlike Opus 7, this show, for all its subversion (culminating in a finale of less than perfect young cygnets from Swan Lake) feels light-weight and self-regarding, an exercise in tricks and sleight of hand.
Maybe after all, that is exactly the art of theatre-making itself. Making a little go a long way.
Cast: Uya Akhedzhakova, Ivan Barakin, Vadim Dubrovin, Valery Garkalin, Natalia Gorchakova, Maria Gulk, Valery Gurlyanov, Arkady Kirichenko, Alexey Kokhanov, Andrey Loshkin, Maxim Maminov,Sergey Melkonyan, Sergey Nazarov, Boris Opletoev, Anatoly Shustov, Vladimir Shustov, Anna Sinyakina, Anton Telkov, Mikhail Umanets, Ivan Yershev.
Supernumerary cast: Jessey Ayertsy, Chanteese Black, Angela Bull Susanne Goldberg, Jasmin Hinds, Nir Kitaro, Jonathan Luwagga, Terry McGrath, Michelle McMahnon, Andy Macgarr, Michael Moulton, Fiona Orford-Williams, Gerry Skeens, Kathy Trevelyan, Lexi Walker.
Ballerinas: Madeleine Ballay, Mae Farrer, Lily-Ella Kilkenny, Ruby-Mae Kilkenny, Emma King, Elizabeth McCall, Jeylin Mehmet, Sara Misku, Sofia Monforte, Amera Piper, Bethany Stubbs, Micaela Williams, Caroline Wood.
Young actors: Elizabeth McCall, Sarah Stranger.
Director: Dmitry Krymov.
Designer/Costume: Vera Martynova.
Composer: Kuzma Bodrov.
Puppets: Viktor Platonov.
Lighting Ivan Vinogradov.
Sound: Andrey Zachesov.
Stage Designer: Noëlle Ginefri.
Choreographer: Pascale Chevroton.
Costume: Magali Castellan.
Design: Cécile Kretschmar.
Lighting: Arnaud Jung.
First performance at Barbican Theatre London 12 November 2014.
Supported by Moscow Department of Culture
Presented by the Barbican in association with the Royal Shakespeare Company
A Chekhov International Theatre Festival, Dmitry Krymov Lab and Moscow Theatre School of Dramatic Art production.
Originally commissioned for the World Shakespeare Festival which was produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company for London 2012 Festival.