A Midsummer Night's Dream
Bold reimagining of the Bard's heady comedy from director Matthew Lenton
Vanishing Point artistic director Matthew Lenton has come up with a wonderfully cheeky conceit for his first ever Shakespeare production, zeroing in on Titania's reference to a world that 'now knows not which is which' to relocate the Bard's heady comedy to a wintry landscape. This ramps up the sense of a topsy-turvy reality to create a kind of sexually-charged Narnia where the intoxicated characters must now battle the elements as well as their own confused passions.
Kai Fischer's stylised forest set and Mark Melville's stark, sci-fi soundscape further enhance the sense of an off-kilter universe, while the framing device of Bottom drowsing off into reverie while tending to his sick wife adds dignity and depth to the character, which actor Jordan Young rises to in a compelling performance. The only jarring note comes from the treatment of the four young lovers, who are over-choreographed at the expense of the language. Their busy onstage antics are amusing in parts but ultimately have an alienating effect. They're eclipsed by other strong elements, most notably the kinship and repartee between the rude mechanicals, which culminates in a laugh-out-loud X-Factor-style rendition of Pyramus and Thisbe.
- Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh, until Sat 17 Nov.