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A Midsummer Night's Dream | Belgrade Theatre

Paul Milton’s version of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream certainly featured more Bottom than you would usually expect. A complete re-jiggle of the story of the Lover’s running away to the forest, bickering Fairy Royalty and Rude Mechanicals rehearsing a play, Milton’s version sees the Mechanicals coming through the audience and setting up on stage for their first rehearsal. The opening scene filled with slapstick comedy from the off, set the tone for the rest of the play which has been completely ‘Tweedified’.

Casting Tweedy the Clown (Alan Digweed) as Bottom felt like Milton was really getting

his money worth as each transition seemed like a new skit for Tweedy to demonstrate his skills. Of course, we all remember that famous scene where Bottom tries to open up a deck chair right? Oh, and don’t forget the part where Bottom juggles horse manure! I can’t deny that Tweedy is very skilled but adding fart noises during the already notoriously funny ‘Pyramus and Thisbe’ play within the play seemed a bit too ‘Panto-esque’ for me. Yet, as Puck famously states “If we shadows have offended, think but this and all is mended. That you have slumbered here. While these visions did appear” and there were many dreamy wonderful moments in the production that I did enjoy.

The talented cast of nine perform as all of the Lovers, Mechanicals and Fairies and did such a wonderful job differentiating each character that I did not realise they were playing several parts until a few scenes in! A particular stand out for me was Laura Noble as Helena/Flute/Mustardseed who brought Shakespeare’s dialogue to life with ease and made it feel like contemporary text.

Phil R. Daniels and Charles Cusick Smith’s design was clever at transporting us to Athens and the magical forest with hints to The Globe Theatre’s pillars and upstage centre door that revealed Titania’s bower.

Milton’s aim was to make this Shakespeare show accessible to all, and with a group of Primary School students next to me chuckling throughout, I would say he achieved this aim. And hey, if this can introduce more people to the wonderful world of theatre, then maybe I can excuse a fart joke or two.

A Midsummer Night's Dream runs at Belgrade Theatre until 27th April. For more information and tickets, you can follow the link here.


Gifted tickets in return for an honest review | photography provided by PR


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