A Midsummer Night's Dream - REVIEW

By Rob Holcroft Thursday 14 February 2013 Updated: 22/02 10:18

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A Midsummer Night's Dream

Malvern Theatres

THE Winter’s Tale would seem the appropriate Shakespearean play to attend this week, while in the grip of another wintry blast. Yet, do not these dark nights, icy winds and snow-filled skies leave us dreaming of summer?

Perhaps A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Malvern Festival Theatre is perfect timing.

Custom/Practice Theatre Company enjoyed acclaim at the Edinburgh Fringe last year with this interpretation of Shakespeare’s original and most famous ‘Rom-Com’, an enchanting fairytale of the magical mayhem that ensues when lovers flee royal decrees, passions are unrequited and the fairy kingdom is at war.

A vibrant cast of eight cleverly portray the large collection of characters against Rosa Maggiora’s simplistic set design, which was the ideal platform for the actors to display their many talents.

Liam Mansfield is commanding as Oberon, Rebecca Meyer is beautiful as Titania. Clare McMahon is feisty in the role of Hermia, while her lover Daniel Francis-Swaby is charming as Lysander.

Rebecca Loudon is wonderfully tragic as the love sick, Helena and Naoufal Ousellam is dashing as Demetrius. Shane Frater’s Puck was understated, whereas the opposite is true of Lorenzo Martelli’s superbly obnoxious Bottom!

Director, Rae McKen’s vision worked perfectly with the target audience, engaging them from beginning to end and filling the auditorium with raucous laughter throughout the players enactment of Pyramus and Thisbe, the staging of which earned the characters their title of the ‘Crude’ Mechanicals.

The components from the rest of the creative team worked together superbly to capture the magic within the live performance, particularly Ed Lewis’ music and sound design.

The energised eloquence of this production makes Shakespeare incredibly accessible and fun. This is definitely one to go and see. A Midsummer Night’s Dream runs until Saturday.

Rob Holcroft

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