THEATRE REVIEW: A Midsummer Night's Dream ★★★★

A Midsummer Night's Dream
Bridge Theatre, London
Monday 3rd June - Saturday 31st August

With a screening taking place as part of National Theatre Live later this year, 17th October to be exact, it's never to late to write some thoughts on this spellbinding adaption of the classic Shakespeare take from The Bridge Theatre, even if we had watched on its penultimate performance.

Being a staple point to educational services throughout the generations, Midsummers is probably the most well-known and scrutinised of the bard's work due to the familiarisation of his characters creations, which Nicholas Hytner directs with such a force of moving away from the common ground and flipping the inevitable to uncertainty, especially in a much more modern setting and scene that the UK has become, especially in being more open on sexuality and moving away from the norm.

This immersive, promenade experience is best felt through exactly that; choosing to stand within the pit, surrounded by the actors on heightened structures, though at times can be hard due to sightlines, allows a more personal connection to the story, especially when we are picked on from certain characters, and the inclusion at the end of both acts with a certain Beyonce classic; who knew parading around the space with Arial acrobatics above your head could be so fun!

When focusing in on the casting, it's held together in most parts with a formidable array of talents; Tessa Bonham Jones and Isis Hainsworth shine on stage with their fiesty and electric portrayals of Helena and Hermia respectfully. Paul Adeyefa is powerful and outspoken as Demetrius, which compared to Kit Young as Lysander, who gives a more stale take, brings Adeyefa more meat to his stance and expression, which slowly starts to grow on Young throughout the show.

Hammed Animashaun is prefect casting for Bottom, along with the whole mechanicals gang, who get a revamp in this production with much more focus on a collective group of bandits, whilst Gwendoline Christie and Oliver Chris balance out their power on stage with both giving a commendable performance compared to the more energetic younger additions. It's David Moorst who embodies Puck with such a phenomenal stance that makes him untouchable on stage and allows him to move through the audience at speed, even if it means insulting a few spectators along the way.

Overall, A Midsummer Night's Dream, though a very familiar construct, completely gets torn away with Hytner's vivid imagination in this Bridge production, which makes this version the most fresh in the mind of an adaption that I have seen of the Bard's classics in recent times.


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