Skip to main content

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

King’s Theatre, Edinburgh
4 stars

The impact of this multi-lingual epic rendering of Shakespeare’s trawl through the underworld was huge when it first played outdoor arenas in Bombay.

It was thrilling enough six months ago when it moved indoors to London’s Roundhouse.

Here too on the last legs of its UK tour, Tim Supple’s production remains impressive, even if some of its expansive sense of scale is lost by squeezing it into an old-fashioned proscenium arch space.

What it holds onto is its joyously realised bravura that rips into a tale long hi-jacked by the heritage industry and makes it sexier and more muscular.

Acrobatics, live music and a gorgeous looking cast work their magic on a climbing frame underworld hidden by a paper curtain that’s literally ripped aside to reveal its rigging.

Puck is a bad-boy with Mohican hair-cut and Frankie Goes To Hollywood moustache, whose fairy helpers’ gymnastic displays give them the air of a tribe of lost boys and girls locked out of the love-in.

Here is a Dream reinvented for the back-packer age, with all the fun of the cultural tourist fair without having to leave town.

It nevertheless remains the brightest, most topsy-turvy breath of fresh air the bard has received for some time.

Its irreverent mix of ancient ritual and modern spectacle reclaims Shakespeare for the here and now of 21st century multi-culturalism with all of the pageantry and none of the platitudes.

But this is a play about love, and while the second half’s opening bachannal may resemble a Bollywood Royal Variety take on Kenneth Anger, the show’s final number is charming enough to leave the warmest of glows in its wake.

The Herald, October 25th 2007

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Maids

Dundee Rep

Two sisters sit in glass cases either side of the stage at the start of Eve Jamieson's production of Jean Genet's nasty little study of warped aspiration and abuse of power. Bathed in red light, the women look like artefacts in some cheap thrill waxworks horror-show, or else exhibits in a human zoo. Either way, they are both trapped, immortalised in a freak-show possibly of their own making.

Once the sisters come to life and drape themselves in the sumptuous bedroom of their absent mistress, they raid her bulging wardrobe to try on otherwise untouchable glad-rags and jewellery. As they do, the grotesque parody of the high-life they aspire to turns uglier by the second. When the Mistress returns, as played with daring abandon by Emily Winter as a glamour-chasing narcissist who gets her kicks from drooling over the criminal classes, you can't really blame the sisters for their fantasy of killing her.

Slabs of sound slice the air to punctuate each scene of Mart…

Phoebe Waller-Bridge - Fleabag

Phoebe Waller-Bridge is a busy woman. The thirty-two year old actress who burst onto our TV screens as writer and star of Fleabag, the tragi-comic sort of sit-com about a supposedly independent woman on the verge is currently overseeing Killing Eve, her new TV drama which she's written for BBC America. As an actress, Waller-Bridge is also filming a big screen project which we can't talk about, but which has already been outed as being part of the ongoing Star Wars franchise.

These are both pretty good reasons why Waller-Bridge won't be appearing in the brief Edinburgh Festival Fringe revival of the original stage play of Fleabag, when it opens next week at the Underbelly, where it was first unleashed to the world in 2013. In her place, Maddie Rice will take on the role of the potty-mouthed anti-heroine after touring Vickie Jones' production for Waller-Bridge and Jones' DryWrite company in association with Soho Theatre. This doesn't mean Waller-Bridge has turned…

Futureproof 2017

Street Level Photoworks, Glasgow until February 4th 2018
Four stars

Now in its ninth year, Futureproof's showcase of recent graduate photographers from seven Scottish art schools and universities returns to its spiritual home at Street Level, with nineteen artists embracing photo essays, abstraction and constructed narratives. It is Karlyn Marshall's Willies, Beuys and Me that grabs you first. Tucked in a corner, this depiction of a woman impersonating iconic artist Joseph Beuys says much about gender stereotyping, and recalls Manfred Karge's play, Man to Man, in which a German woman took on her dead husband's identity.

The personal and the political converge throughout. Ben Soedera's Foreign Sands contrasts natural resources and the constructed world. Gareth and Gavin Bragdon's The Bragdon Brothers moves onto the carnivalesque streets of Edinburgh. Kieran Delaney's Moments also looks at the apparently ordinary. Matthew Buick goes further afield, as tourists…