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A Midsummer Night's Dream
Published on Sunday, 28 August 2011
3

3 stars

theSpace on Niddry St (venue website)
Theatre
22-27 Aug, 2:15pm-3:45pm
Reviewed by Ellen Macpherson

 Family-friendly. Suitable for all ages.

After all the bloody, morose and diplomatic Shakespeare I have watched this Festival, it was very nice to end on A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Sure, it’s not the most incredible piece of theatre I’ve seen, but it’s enjoyable, fun, and very loyal to the original text.

The production is a whole ninety minutes, which in Fringe time is practically eons. I was a little concerned that the novelty might wear off, leaving me stuck trying to check my watch in the dark, but there are enough scene changes in the cuts to make it seem more fast-paced than its run-time would suggest. The acting might be melodramatic at times, but if you take it as the comedic farce of a play that MND was originally intended as, that’s not much of a criticism at all; I give full credit to an experienced cast that clearly know their Bard.

The 1950s theme is a good idea for a Shakespeare interpretation, but I think maybe it is applied to the wrong play here. Because so much of it is set in the woods with the fairies, there’s not much time to establish context, and there’s really no reason for it underpinning it all. Still, the inclusion of some excellent Fifties tunes was entertaining (even if the accompanying dance routines were a bit stiff).

But unfortunately, I was looking for an extra factor that would kick it up into another gear, and it just wasn’t there. This would certainly be a great production to see if you wanted to familiarise yourself with MND. For me, though Bottom was entertaining and the play certainly garnered a few laughs, there was nothing particularly standout about it.

This is a rarity, though – a Fringe Shakespeare play with no twists, turns or weird alternative meanings – and if that’s what you’re looking for, you’ve come to the right place. WDG Productions puts on a solid piece of theatre that will leave the traditionalists happ,y and the Fifties fans tapping their feet in their seats. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is certainly done with a lot of heart and a very cheeky attitude.

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