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Theatre Review: A Midsummer Night's Dream

12 July 19 words: Edward Jones

Nottingham Shakespeare Company are bringing Oberon, Puck, Bottom and the gang to various locations around the city... 

On a sunny summer evening, Nottingham Shakespeare Company entertain an audience of all ages with their energetic production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is perhaps one of Shakespeare’s most famous and widely loved plays, its story of how “the course of true love never did run smooth” between four young Athenians, of feuding fairies and magical transformations and of a hopeless local workers-come-performers continues to delight audiences.

This condensed ninety-minute performance fizzes with energy throughout, the cast absolutely at home in their temporary outdoor setting for the evening – here the D. H. Lawrence Pavilion at Highfields Park. It is a real delight, and a mark of the company’s success, to hear young children in the audience giggling away right up until the last minute of the piece. 

Nottingham Shakespeare Company succeed in making Shakespeare not only relevant to modern audiences, but accessible and thoroughly enjoyable for anyone

The show’s director, Michelle-Louise Wright, commands the stage both vocally and physically as the ever-confident Bottom, leading the mechanicals in their farcical exploits. Cat Prescott makes a delightfully mischievous Puck, skipping around the outdoor stage on tip-toe like a gleeful child, clad, as the other fairies are, in steampunk gear. Lottie Martin also deserves great plaudits for her portrayal of Helena, earnestly heartbroken in her pursuit of Demetrius and delightfully angry when she believes both he and Lysander fall under Puck’s spell and are suddenly enamoured with her.  

The company’s motto of ‘Original practice, contemporary relevance’ is realised as Puck leads the company in a Shakespearean reworking of The Mama’s & The Papa’s California Dreamin’ as well as when Bottom later invites the audience to join in with her in the birdie dance.

Nottingham Shakespeare Company succeed in making Shakespeare not only relevant to modern audiences, but accessible and thoroughly enjoyable for anyone, regardless of their knowledge of Shakespeare.

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