Monday, July 29, 2013

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM

Directed by Jordan Best
Written by William Shakespeare
The Q Theatre, Queanbeyan July 24 - August 3, 2013

Review by Len Power July 24, 2013
 
If you could do with a warming burst of summer on one of these cold mid-winter nights, get yourself out of the house and go and see the Q Theatre’s delightful new production of Shakespeare’s, ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’.  You’ll come home glowing.

William Shakespeare’s comedy is one of his most popular plays.  It concerns the events surrounding the marriage of the Duke of Athens, Theseus, and Hippolyta, including the very funny adventures of four young Athenian lovers and a group of six amateur actors, who are controlled and manipulated by the fairies who inhabit the forest in which most of the play is set.

The large cast of twenty give generally strong performances.  Everyone in the cast has their big moment and they don’t waste it.  Especially memorable were Dave Evans as the mischievous fairy, Puck, Cam Thomas as Bottom, Tim Sekuless as Oberon, Brendan Kelly as Flute and Lachlan Tiberius Ruffy as Snug.  Towering above them all, though, was Jenna Roberts in a fiendishly funny performance as one of the confused lovers, Helena.  She gives a wonderful contemporary reading of the role but still respects the Shakespearian text.

The production is enhanced by the combination of Wayne Shepherd’s clever woodland setting, lighting design by Owen Horton, some great sound effects and original music by Peter Best.  Miriam Miley-Read, Emma Sekuless and Cate Ruth have collaborated on the gorgeous and imaginative costumes with some especially striking 1920s gowns for some of the women in the cast.  The wing designs for the fairies, by Mia Ching and Ann McMahon are beautiful and, if you have good eyesight, you’ll see a nod to Walter Burley Griffin in their work.

Director, Jordan Best’s production gives a very clear and easily understandable reading of the text.  The pace of the show keeps us interested and involved as it moves swiftly from one scene to another.  The knockabout comedy playing between the group of actors is very well done and the graceful movements of the fairies adds another charming dimension.

With the combination of fairies and acting troupes and young lovers, many directors have been known to take great licence with this play, sometimes successfully, sometimes indulgently.  In the program, Jordan Best says that she did not want to try to put her stamp on the show.  She wanted to do Shakespeare’s version, not Jordan Best’s version.  Well, either way, this production has the stamp of excellence on it.

Originally broadcast on Artsound FM 92.7 ‘Dress Circle’ program on Sunday 28 July 2013

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