Music, dance and a buzz of fairies! A Midsummer Night’s Dream has come to town, not to a fancy college garden, but to the infinitely flexible Old Fire Station, with its clever seating and inky drapery.
Night has fallen, Titania and Oberon are at odds, and the women of Athens are beset by grumpy parents and inconstant lovers. Madcap Theatre Production specialise in historical, physical and lively productions, and tonight the men are in tights, the ladies resplendent in brocade, and everyone is ready and raring for a flirt, a fight and a foolhardy stumble through the forest.
The cast is tight, changing costumes, sex and character with dizzying speed. Lindsey Chaplin is magnificently regal and absurd as Hippolytla / Titania in imperious gold and perfectly purple peep-thigh fairy trousers. Edward De Gaetano is equally happy as princely, courteous Theseus or rugged, out-of-control Oberon, bromantically chest-bumping his irresistible Puck played by Oisin Porter, who flashes charm, chest and occasionally underwear. The clowns (Patricia Hobday and director Emma Leigh) manage to rein in their well-judged comic tomfoolery to show fine voices for the fairy songs, while the young lovers are properly silly and charming. Anna Nicholson is particularly fine as Helena, motor-mouthing madly between blazing termagant and desolate, lovelorn lady; while Hermia (Matilda Bott) is a holy terror in the fight scenes, and insanely hilarious as Flute playing Thisbe. The play also boasts a good looking and charming Bottom, in Robert Moore (who doubles up as Lysander); manic, imaginative, and quite understandably idolised by his friends, while James Labdarbs (Demetrius) and Anna Nicholson both shine as Moonlight and the Wall.
The show barely pauses for breath; gags come fast and furious, flowers rain down from the minimal, slightly rickety set, and Puck pouts as the mischief resolves, the lovers are reunited and the players bid us goodnight.