A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Bord Gáis Energy Theatre – DTF Review
Venue: Bord Gáis Energy Theatre – Dates: Sept 28 – 29, 7.30pm; Sept 30 & Oct 1, 2.30pm & 7.30pm
Tickets: €15 – €40
The Lyric Hammersmith and Filter Theatre
The play opens with a short stand-up set. With the curtains still drawn, an actor comes to centre stage and takes the microphone to talk directly to the audience. His set covers a lot of ground, from Copper Face Jacks to the fall of the British Empire, but it ends with a promise of a guest star to play Bottom. As the play proper commences, the curtain rises and this same actor goes to the back of the stage to take his place in the ‘house band’. He plays guitar, but is also Peter Quince. And so begins this free wheeling interpretation of the Shakespeare classic.
This is one of Shakespeare’s best loved plays and in recent years has become one of the most distorted. Every production seems to put their own spin on the play and force it in another direction. In recent times in Dublin, we have seen it set in an old folk’s home and in the glam rock 70s, to name but a few. This new production uses large blocks of the original text, but also adds to it with the actors coming out of character frequently.
The premise of the original story is still intact, with the magical night in the woods where the king of the fairies, Oberon and his man servant Robin “Puck” Goodfellow set about to tamper with the natural order and make their prey fall in and out of love with all manner of man and beast. There is even a short attempt at the final sequence, the play within the play that serves as a brief coda. At just over an hour and a half in length and considering the amount of time spent on various flights of fancy, this is not a full version of the play, but an enjoyable riff on the original.
We get a number of musical numbers that work surprisingly well, in all manner of genres such as rock, soul and doo-wop. The band comprises three members, with guitar, keyboards and drums, along with all manner of electronic devices. These same toys are employed as special effects to help with the moments of magic in the play.
We never do get to meet the special guest star that was to play Bottom. The household name promised has been stuck in a lift backstage and despite this near disaster, the play continues. This production rejects the darker elements in the original and instead keeps the laughs flowing. The stage ends up decimated with the remanents of all manner of food fights and squabbles. This version of events may annoy some that are looking for a strict interpretation of the text. This is a production that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and as long you’re prepared to laugh along, it’s an enjoyable frolic.
Categories: Header, Theatre, Theatre Review
Leave a Reply