A Midsummer Night's Dream (4 stars)

A magical new adaptation of the Bard's romantic comedy

A Midsummer Night's Dream

credit: Topher McGrillis

Often dismissed as mere froth, Shakespeare' s romantic comedy of faeries and Athenians contains some of the bard’s best known lines and characters, as well as choice barbs mocking the lengths people will go to to find love. Once the mischievous Oberon and Puck's love potion have worked their magic and made an ass of faery queen Titania as she falls in love with the hapless Bottom, the Citizens Theatre Dream Players – a genuine amateur troupe, bringing the 'bad play within a play' to braying life – accurately skewer all the horrors of am dram theatre, right down to awful costumes and nonsensical prologues.

Such decisions are not the only risks director Erica Whyman has taken here. The excellent manic cast, gorgeous MGM era costumes and set by Tom Piper frame the freewheeling action which comes on more like surrealist Marx Bros than Disney Fairyland.

Ayesha Dharker as Titania and Chu Omambala as Oberon are a sexy charismatic couple, but it's Lucy Ellinson's androgynous impish Puck who scampers away with most of the scenes. Sam Kenyon's songs are sweet too without giving toothache. It's an uproarious, occasionally broad but ultimately inventive Dream, with surprises and delights around every corner.

Reviewed at Citizen's Theatre, run ended.


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