11 March 2016

A riotous A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Lyric Hammersmith

Having rediscovered the Lyric Hammersmith with Herons I was quick to get back there to see A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Shakespeare is quite a pull for me but I had seen Dream not that long ago, and a musical adaptation too, so it needed to be something special to get me to see yet another version and YouTube convinced me that this was special. The short clips showed Oberon in his superhero outfit with a large "O" on the front and were heavy with slapstick. It also helped that this was a return of a popular show.

I decided to work at home that day and finished promptly to eat (and drink) in the cafe there. As on my previous visit I had the excellent veggie burger and a bottle of a craft ale. Neither was cheap but both justified their price.

I chose a seat in the top price bracket, Circle A18 £35. This was just two seats away from where I sat for Herons so I knew that the view would be good. One reason why I always log my seat number and take a picture of the view is that it helps me to choose my seat the next time that I go to a theatre I am not that familiar with.

The show opened with an Irish announcer setting the scene. This quickly set the tone and the mood; he made some very topical and political (anti-Tory) jokes, swore at some young men in the front row for talking, and explained that Dream had a play within a play like Shakespeare's other play The Matrix.

What followed was an incredible amount of fun that remained very true to the original while embellishing it with lots of visual humour. As an example of this, the tears in the walls, roof and floor show where characters made unexpected entrances and exits.

Also added to the original script were some pieces of music and some colourful language. The age guidance was 14+ but the girls behind me looked quite a bit short of that. One of them asked there mother, "What's that?", when Puck picked up a condom packet and that's a conversation that might be a little awkward. I'm not sure that they got the hung like a donkey references either.

And then there was an all-cast food fight that got some of the audience involved too.

A Midsummer Night's Dream was imaginative in design and skillful in execution. It was a Shakespeare for the modern age that I loved immensely and recommend heartily (for those aged 14+). 

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