Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare
The Oxford Playhouse
best known Fantastic Comedy, combined with the superb creative direction
of Edward Hall, produced one of the most memorable opening nights
at the Oxford Playhouse in recent years.
was my first experience of "A Midsummer Night's Dream"
performed by an all male cast and the effect was stunning. Hall's
company claim to be able to make Shakespeare accessible to a young
audiences and here was the proof as a large outing of Oxfordshire
schoolgirls watched in awe and later celebrated the final bows with
rapturous applause along with the packed house.
this evidence it is hardly surprising that Hall has tempted Kenneth
Branagh to make his National Theatre debut in the title role of
"Edmond" next month.
Pavelka's eerie and spatial set, the drone of harmonicas and men
dressed in tutus provides the backdrop for an innovative interpretation
which draws very heavily on England's rich pagan tradition from
the masquerades of Mummers plays to the rituals of Morris dancing.
But what makes this interpretation so unique is how Hall manages
to inject a quality of farce reminiscent of the Whitehall heyday
of Brian Rix.
was keen to remind us that outside the machinations of courtly love
a class war existed in this notional Athens as Bottom the weaver
and Quince the carpenter plan to impress the "nobs" and
stage the winning play.
Bell steals the show as Bottom with his Pythonesque spin on the
character that alludes to several of Eric Idle's and Graham Chapman's
chracterisations while Chris Myles' masterful Quince draws on Michael
Crawford's Frank Spencer.
must also sing the praises of Simon Scardifield's Puck that had
the audience in stitches and reminded me of Mickey Rooney's Hollywood
interpretation. Speaking of Hollywood, Robert Hand's Helena has
a remarkable likeness to Jack Lemmon in "Some Like it Hot".
This is a must see if any tickets are available.