Skip to main content

A Midsummer Night’s Dream (As You Like It)


King’s Theatre
4 stars 
When a rowdy bunch burst noisily through the auditorium wielding a 
felled, full-size tree-trunk at the opening of Dmitry Krymov’s Russian 
language  reimagining of Shakespeare’s frothiest rom-com, only the 
little dog padding about astride the tree truly knows what we’re in 
for. Krymov’s production, commissioned by the Chekhov International 
Theatre Festival for his School of Dramatic Art Theatre, after all, is 
billed as something ‘after Shakespeare’ rather than of it.

So it goes in a wildly irreverent work that puts the Rude Mechanicals 
at the centre of the action rather than cast as the usual comic fall 
guys, even if there are prat-falls aplenty. Once the tree-trunk, then a 
leaky fountain, is disposed of on a stage covered with plastic 
sheeting, the troupe of players change into formal attire as they await 
their audience. This comes in the shape of a bunch of disgruntled 
toffs, whose mobile phones interrupt the action in a makeshift VIP area 
even as the sternest of their number complains throughout.

There is no forest and no Bottom’s dream, only Pyramus and Thisbe, who 
come in the form of giant junk-shop puppets operated by the 
Mechanicals. There are acrobatics and operatics, while the dog does 
back-flips in-between fending off a rubbish lion, able to take anything 
in his four-legged stride.

On one level, this is a glorious entertainment, right down to a finale 
involving a part Scat, part Kurt Schwitters style chorus and a 
tippy-toed take on Swan Lake. On another, it’s a fantastical 
theatrical in-joke performed with vaudevillian largesse. As the little 
old lady who’s been growling through proceedings onstage herself says, 
Shakespeare would have loved it.

The Herald, August 25th 2012

ends



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Suzy Glass – Message from the Skies

Freedom of movement matters to Suzy Glass, the arts and events producer currently overseeing the second edition of Message from the Skies.This animated literary derive around the city forms part of this year’s Edinburgh’s Hogmanay programme, and runs right through till Burns’ Night. Glass’ concerns are inherent in the event itself, which has commissioned six writers from different disciplines and experiences to each pen a love letter to Europe. Each writer has then paired up with a composer and visual artist or film-maker, with the results of each collaboration projected in monumental fashion on the walls of one of half a dozen of the capital’s most iconic buildings.
With venues stretching from the south side of Edinburgh to Leith, and with one city centre stop requiring a walk up Calton Hill, there is considerable legwork required to complete the circuit. It shouldn’t be considered a race, however, and audiences are free to move between venues at their leisure, visiting each site on d…

Kieran Hurley – Mouthpiece

Things have changed since Kieran Hurley first began writing the play that would become Mouthpiece, which opens at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh this weekend. At the time, Hurley was, in his own words, “quite new on the scene.” As a writer and performer, he had already scored hits with Beats and Chalk Farm, two pieces that put him on the map with a new generation of theatre-makers steeped in an equally new wave of grassroots opposition that drew from the iconography of revolutions past. Where Beats looked at the politicisation of 1990s club culture, Chalk Farm, co-written with AJ Taudevin, focused on a teenage boy caught up in the 2011 London riots.
More plays followed. Some, like Heads Up used the same solo story-telling aesthetic to look at an everyday apocalypse. More recently, Square Go, written with Gary McNair, dissected toxic masculinity through a school playground fight.
All the while as Hurley developed as a writer, from new kid on the block to established provocateur, this…

Rob Drummond – The Mack

Rob Drummond was at home in England when he looked at the news feed on his phone, and saw a post about the fire at Glasgow School of Art. It was June 2018, and the writer and performer behind such hits as Grain in the Blood, Bullet Catch and Our Fathers initially presumed the post was to mark the fourth anniversary of the 2014 blaze in GSA’s Mackintosh Building, which was undergoing a major restoration after much of it was destroyed.
As it turned out, the news was far worse, as reports of a second fire were beamed across the world. As someone who had taken Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s iconic construction for granted while living in Glasgow, Drummond was as stunned as anyone else with even a passing relationship with the Mack.
While emotions continue to run high in response to the disaster, Drummond channelled his thoughts on all this into what he does best. The result is The Mack, a new play that forms part of Oran Mor’s A Play, A Pie and a Pint lunchtime theatre season in Glasgow prior …