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A Midsummer Night's Dream | Wilton's Music Hall

A Midsummer Night's Dream by Shakespeare has been revived numerous times over the years, and yet, Flabbergast Theatre brings wonderful originality and new life into this beloved play. This adaptation is designed and directed by Henry Maynard and is performed by a talented cast. 

The play has two major story narratives taking place. One with the chaotic and ever changing relationship dynamics between Egeus (Simon Gleave), Titatina (Reanne Black), Demetrius (Nadav Burstein), Helena (Vyte Garriga), Hermia (Paulina Krzeczkowska) and Lysander (Elliot Pritchard) through the actions of Oberon (Krystian Godlewski) and Robin Goodfellow (Lennie Longworth). The other focuses on a theatre company who are preparing to perform the ancient Greek legend of "Pyramus and Thisbe", with the actors playing multiple roles. 

The show chooses to use Shakespeare's original text, which does arouse a little confusion at the start of the play for those unfamiliar with the story, but is a nice creative choice. However, between the overly exaggerated performances, the occasional silent mouthing of ad-libs, and the fun new energy infused into the play, it's an enjoyable watch for everyone. The play's pacing is a little mismatched towards the beginning and ending, with some scenes feeling quite dragged out and others short and forced. However this doesn't deter from the brilliant creative choices and ultimately fun theatre experience. 

The cast do an excellent job and feel perfectly cast in their roles. Krzeczkowska as Hermia truly embodies "hell hath no fury like a woman scorned" and is particularly impressive in her quick emotional changes. Garriga as Helena is hilarious in her subtle background reactions and her exaggerated delivery. Pritchard and Burstein are wonderful as the rivals Lysander and Demetrius, and steal the show with their antics and slow motion fights. Black and Gleave, whilst both having limited stage presence, make their marks. Longworth and Godlewski have embraced an utterly absurd and bizarre approach to their characters and this truly makes all the difference. With Godlewski randomly turning up in a few scenes with stilts and an echoing microphone, and Longworth bringing a bag of Popcorn along, the show keeps you on your toes. 

The show is set in Wilton's Music Hall, which is the perfect venue for this play. Founded in 1859, the venue's wooden and stone structure adds another layer of whimsical to the show, which is further enhanced by the cast mingling and greeting the audience through the front doors, in character and costume before the show.  The costumes and props are great, with the elegance of the time period. The use of puppetry to denote a number of animals and other creatures is fascinating, and the cast are so brilliant at animal sound imitations, it took until the second act to realise it was not pre-recorded. There are a few moments of gentle guitar in the background by Simon Gleave, and a brief few ensemble musical moments, but otherwise the play relies solely on the dialogue. 

The genius of this adaptation of Midsummer Night's Dream comes from the small details that the company has made. The show dials up the chaotic commotion that the play requires, and throws in its additional mishaps. With impressive moments of physical comedy, a light operator on stage being exhausted with the cast, whispered apologies for outdated ideals, and a playful jab at the detailed plots, it's the subtle yet significant moments that make this production the brilliant adaptation that it is. 

A Midsummer Night's Dream is currently playing at the Wilton's Music Hall until the 20th April. For more information and tickets, you can follow the link here.


AD | gifted tickets in return for an honest review | photography by Michael Lynch


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