Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Review: A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Southwark Playhouse

A Midsummer Night's Dream 
Southwark Playhouse
Reviewed on Monday 6th June 2016

Performing A Midsummer Night's Dream with a cast of seven and limited props/costume in one hour fifty minutes is no easy task. Not only do Go People Theatre Company pull it off, but they have also triumphantly found a new way to present a Shakespeare classic, which is easier said than done.

With the audience sat along two sides of the theatre, the fourth wall is shattered from the get-go. The actors begin out of character acknowledging the challenges they are about to face. They then fully launch themselves into the piece, crazily doubling up as various characters which builds to an epic final act. Naturally, on several occasions a cast of seven is too small... audience members sat on the front row should beware...

What I like most about Simon Evans' production is that it makes Shakespeare accessible without being patronising. This show is probably most appealing to people who are familiar with the play, there are plenty of 'in-jokes' which were lapped up by the press night audience. The concept wouldn't necessarily work with other Shakespeare pieces, but A Midsummer Night's Dream lends itself perfectly to the style. 

Lucy Eaton, Melanie Fullbrook, Freddie Hutchins and Suzie Preece all take turns to steal the spotlight, embracing the style of comedy. Fresh from two years in EastEnders, Maddy Hill showcases tremendous versatility whilst Freddie Fox in particular excels in the intimacy of the Southwark Playhouse. For me, the stand out performer was Ludovic Hughes as Oberon / Theseus. Every detail of Hughes' performance was spot on, he stole scene after scene with striking presence.

It's nice to see a piece of theatre which purely relies on a strong concept and the talent of its cast to keep an audience engaged.

Reviewed by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)

A Midsummer Night’s Dream runs at the Southwark Playhouse until 1st July 2016.
Please visit www.southwarkplayhouse.co.uk for further information and tickets.

Photo Credit: Harry Grindrod

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