The fairies are delightfully presented as dexterous, earthy creatures who remain constantly surreal – kudos to the costume designer and make-up team for a superb job! In their respective roles of king and queen, Spike Curtis and Katie Edgerton capture well the semi-human subtlety of these characters – Curtis’ ape-like movements and Edgerton’s poise contributing to a sense of otherworldliness.
The four lovers are well defined and charismatically portrayed – especial praise is due to James Ivens who renders a hilarious Lysander – the scene in which they meet at cross-purposes in the forest being a highlight of the evening. Yet for all this the triumph of this production rests with the mechanicals and their lead player Bottom, played with Scotch gusto by John-Mark Philo.
The production has its share of imperfections. It would be nice to hear more from the band, which added much in the outdoor arena, but was ultimately underused. Amplification of the cast would also have been useful, and some of the gaps between scenes were a little too long, a fact which jarred with the otherwise electric pace. These are, however, minor blips which can be easily overlooked in light of the performances and energy of the production.
Congratulations to all involved on a delightful garden show which enters fully into the spirit of a much-loved piece of theatre. Strongly to be recommended.