David Kenworthy and Michael Butterfield’s captivating production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream brought a rousing update of Shakespeare’s celebratory Renaissance “solemnities” to the Ellis Theatre. The stark trees and woodchip floor of Paul Cox’s set design, sensitively enhanced by Jasmine Butler’s lighting aptly conjured an atmosphere of nature and supernatural forces, while a superbly eclectic array of costumes and masks designed and created by Claire and Nick Allott and Ginny Brown all combined seamlessly to form a timeless canvas on which the tale could unfold.
Performances were outstanding and ranged from the tangible frustration of the star-crossed lovers (Poppy I, Santo T, Nancy M, Dominic D-S), impressive in both their physical gymnastics and their mastery of the text, to the comedic perfection of the “very tragical mirth” led by Ben A and Daisy D with their earnest team of floundering Mechanicals, to the forlorn yet mischievous fairies torn between orderly obedience to their masterful king and queen (Rafferty T, Ottilie G) and the antics of the lovable Puck (Jasmine P).
Jasmine was one of five accomplished actor musicians, the others being Ben A, Alexia M-K, Millie A and Oliver P. They were supported by band members Hector M (percussion), Theo M (violin) and a number of appreciated professional guests.
Congratulations to all on this colourful, effervescent pageant; it really did capture the Athenian nuptials “with pomp, with triumph, and with reveling.”
Jane Darby, Drama Department.