This production at the Bridge Theatre has once again removed the stalls seating and opened the pit for audience members to promenade around the space following the action. Giving audience members a more intimate experience. We become citizens in the Athenian court at the start of the show and morph into spirits as we enter the Land of the Fairies. There is less interaction than one would anticipate so perhaps we are simply London audience members watching a theatre performance. The standing audience is moved often to accommodate the ever-changing staging and set pieces that members of stage management bring on.
The story follows two lovers Hermia played by Isis Hainsworth and Lysander played by Kit Young as they attempt to escape Athens from the clutches of Hermia’s father Egeus played by Kevin McMonagle who wants her to marry Demetrius played by Paul Adeyefa. The love triangle gets lost in the forest outside of Athens and they accidentally venture into the Land of the Fairies. A night of chaos ensues as the fairies begin to meddle in the ‘mortals’ affairs. Luckily, as with Shakespearean comedies, all is well by morning.
Still spoken in Shakespeare’s famous language the production, however, offers a modern twist by not only doubling up the roles of Titania/Hippolyta and Oberon/Theseus played by Gwendoline Christie and Oliver Chris respectively but also switching the roles of Titania and Oberon in the story. The chemistry between the performers makes the performance not only easy to follow but also believable. It is this chemistry that spearheads the performance and keeps you interested all the way through the second half. With special mention to Puck played by David Moorst and Bottom played by Hammed Animashaun for driving the comedic nature of the piece throughout the two-hour-long production.
Nicholas Hytner reunites the production team from his other Shakespeare production Julius Caesar (also at the Bridge). Though the costumes, use of space and lighting feels eerily similar at the start of the show, this production offered something new and refreshing. Hytner was not shy in using all the available space as well as the technologies his new theatre has to offer. The performers and technical elements combined fully immerses audience members into the Land of the Fairies, a dreamscape that we don’t fully leave even when the play is finished, leaving audience members in awe. A Midsummer Night’s Dream offers much needed comic relief in a world that seems so chaotic.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Plays at the Bridge Theatre until Saturday 31 August 2019.
For ticket information visit Box officeTags: The Bridge Theatre, William Shakespeare Last modified: February 9, 2022